Uganda's popstar MP 'hiding' after raid: Lawyer

KAMPALA — Ugandan popstar turned opposition lawmaker Bobi Wine is in hiding after police raided a hotel he was staying in ahead of a concert, his lawyer said Sunday.

Bobi Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, had been due to perform at a concert in Jinja, about 80 km east of the capital Kampala, on Saturday night.

However he, and his lawyer, said police had launched a raid on his hotel, forcing him into hiding.

Kyagulanyi "has been forced to seek refuge from an unlawful midnight raid by police which has seen many of his supporters and colleagues swept up and detained while others were reportedly beaten," said a statement from his London-based lawyer Robert Amsterdam.

Kyagulanyi took to Twitter on Saturday night to say police had arrested some of his team.

"So police has raided city hotel where we were resting ahead of the show tonight, arrested many of our team members. As we speak, the police is surrounding the entire neighborhood looking for me!" he wrote.

"They have beaten some of them, arrested & dragged them onto police pick-up cars and driven them to unknown destinations for no offense whatsoever."

Amsterdam called the raid "a clear and brazen act of targeted political repression by the Uganda authorities aimed at violating Bobi Wine's human rights" and said the concert was "fully and legally permitted, and the other participating musicians were not targeted."

Kyagulanyi is among the most prominent critics of Uganda's longtime President Yoweri Museveni and authorities have repeatedly blocked him from performing publicly.

Last month, a concert was allowed to go ahead only after Kyagulanyi agreed with the police that it would be a non-political event.

Many of Kyagulanyi's songs address issues of social justice and he has called for Museveni, who has been in power for 32 years, to retire. — AFP