Ugandan police detain dissident pop star turned MP Bobi Wine

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Police officers arrest a supporter of Ugandan musician turned politician Robert Kyagulanyi, commonly known as Bobi Wine, before his arrest on his way to a press conference held to announce the cancelation of his show at Busabala, Uganda, on April 22, 2019. (AFP)
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Ugandan musician turned politician Robert Kyagulanyi, commonly known as Bobi Wine, is arrested by police on his way to a press conference held to announce the cancelation of his show at Busabala, Uganda, on April 22, 2019. (AFP)
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Supporters of Ugandan musician turned politician Robert Kyagulanyi, commonly known as Bobi Wine, speak to police officers before the arrest of Bobi Wine on his way to a press conference held to announce the cancelation of his show at Busabala, Uganda, on April 22, 2019. (AFP)
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Supporters of Ugandan musician turned politician Robert Kyagulanyi, commonly known as Bobi Wine, speak to police officers before the arrest of Bobi Wine on his way to a press conference held to announce the cancelation of his show at Busabala, Uganda, on April 22, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 23 April 2019
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Ugandan police detain dissident pop star turned MP Bobi Wine

  • The 36-year-old popular singer, who entered parliament in 2017 and has emerged as a leading critic of President Museveni, has struck a chord with young Ugandans with his songs about social justice

KAMPALA: Ugandan police on Monday detained Bobi Wine, a pop star turned MP who became a high-profile government critic, after shutting down one of his concerts and firing tear gas at his fans.
The local music sensation, a potential challenger to veteran President Yoweri Museveni, was pulled out of his car by baton-wielding police as he tried to make his way to the concert venue in southern Kampala. He was later released, with police dropping him at his home.
“I was arrested like a terrorist. They broke my hand and pushed me in a vehicle,” Wine, wearing his trademark red beret, told a crowd of cheering supporters, according to local television footage.
“Stand firm, we are winning this war. Each day that passes helps our resolve to end dictatorship,” he exhorted.
A police spokesman for Kampala, Patrick Onyango, told AFP that Wine was apprehended then driven home “to enable us to talk to him... so that he and his team learn to respect the law.”
Wine’s much-anticipated show at his private club on the shores of Lake Victoria was canceled Sunday by police, who cited safety concerns and sealed off roads to the venue.
Wine tried to reach the location Monday but clashes broke out as his supporters threw stones and police responded with tear gas and water cannon.
Concert promoter and Wine supporter Moses Mugwanya told AFP that the singer had been taken away with other political opposition figures.
“Police have broken into the car he was in and forcefully removed him, and put him in a police van and have driven him away,” he said, adding that “suffocating” tear gas was used around the vehicle.
Wine’s wife Barbie Itungo Kyagulanyi said Wine was arrested in Busabala, a Kampala suburb, where he was to address the media on the cancelation of his concert by the police.

The 36-year-old popular singer, who entered parliament in 2017 and has emerged as a leading critic of President Museveni, has struck a chord with young Ugandans with his songs about social justice.
Authorities have repeatedly blocked him from performing publicly.
One of Wine’s songs contains the lyric “freedom fighters become dictators,” while others hint that Museveni has stayed in power too long.
The 74-year-old leader has ruled Uganda since seizing power at the head of a rebel army in 1986. He intends to stand for re-election to a sixth term in office.
The country’s Supreme Court last week upheld a decision to remove an age cap of 75 for presidential contenders, paving the way for Museveni to run again in 2021.
Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, spearheaded protests against the removal of presidential age caps and has signalled he is seriously considering running against Museveni.
He was charged with treason in August last year along with more than 30 opposition politicians over the alleged stoning of Museveni’s convoy after a campaign rally in the north-western town of Arua.
Wine accused the security forces of torturing and beating him while in custody and later received medical treatment in the United States for the injuries he said he received.
The authorities have denied the allegations.


‘Mother of Satan’ bombs show foreign hand in Sri Lanka bombings: investigators

Updated 21 May 2019
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‘Mother of Satan’ bombs show foreign hand in Sri Lanka bombings: investigators

  • Detectives said the back-pack bombs used in the April 21 attacks on three churches and three hotels were manufactured by local militants with Daesh expertise
  • It was also used in the 2015 attacks in Paris, by a suicide bomber who hit the Manchester Arena in England in 2017 and attacks on churches in Indonesia one year ago

COLOMBO: One month after the Sri Lanka suicide attacks that killed more than 250 people, investigators have told AFP the bombers used “Mother of Satan” explosives favored by the Daesh group that are a new sign of foreign involvement.
Detectives said the back-pack bombs used in the April 21 attacks on three churches and three hotels were manufactured by local militants with Daesh expertise.
They named the explosive as triacetone triperoxide, or TATP, an unstable but easily made mixture favored by Daesh militants who call it “Mother of Satan.”
It was also used in the 2015 attacks in Paris, by a suicide bomber who hit the Manchester Arena in England in 2017 and attacks on churches in Indonesia one year ago.
Daesh has claimed the Sri Lankan bombers operated as part of its franchise. But Sri Lankan and international investigators are anxious to know just how much outside help went into the attacks that left 258 dead and 500 injured.
“The group had easy access to chemicals and fertilizer to get the raw materials to make TATP,” an official involved in the investigation told AFP.
Sri Lankan detectives say the National Thowheeth Jama’ath (NTJ), local militants blamed for the attacks, must have had foreign help to assemble the bombs.

“They would have had a face-to-face meeting to transfer this technology. This is not something you can do by watching a YouTube video,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity.
Investigators had initially believed that C4 explosives — a favored weapon of Tamil Tiger rebels — were used, but forensic tests found TATP which causes more burning than C4.
Police have also confirmed that 100 kilograms (220 pounds) of explosives found in January in the island’s northwest was TATP.
They are checking the travel records of the suicide bombers as well as foreign suspects to see when and where bomb-making lessons could have been staged.
“It looks like they used a cocktail of TATP and gelignite and some chemicals in the Easter attacks. They were short of the 100 kilos of raw TATP that were seized in January,” said the investigator.
Sri Lankan security forces have staged a series of raids since the bombings. Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasekera said Sunday that 89 suspects are in custody.
Army chief Mahesh Senanayake said last week that at least two suspects have been arrested in Qatar and Saudi Arabia, underscoring the international link.
On April 26, six militants, three widows of the suicide bombers and six of their children were killed at an NTJ safe house near the eastern coastal town of Kalmunai.
Police found large quantities of chemicals and fertilizer there that was probably meant to make bombs, authorities said.
The government has admitted that Indian warnings of the looming attacks in early April were ignored.
But President Maithripala Sirisena has said eight countries are helping the investigation. A US Federal Bureau of Investigation team is in Sri Lanka and Britain, Australia and India have provided forensic and technical support.
China offered a fleet of vehicles to bolster the mobility of the security forces tracking down militants.

The Sri Lankan who led the attacks, Zahran Hashim, was known to have traveled to India in the months before he became one of the suicide bombers.
Moderate Muslims had warned authorities about the radical cleric who first set off alarm bells in 2017 when he threatened non-Muslims.
He was one of two bombers who killed dozens of victims at Colombo’s Shangri-La hotel on April 21.
Army chief Senanayake said Hashim had traveled to Tamil Nadu state in southern India and been in contact with extremists there.
Hashim, one of seven bombers who staged the attacks, also appeared in an Daesh group video that claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Another bomber who was meant to have hit a fourth hotel, has been named as Abdul Latheef Jameel who studied aviation engineering in Britain and Australia.
Authorities in the two countries are investigating whether he was radicalized whilst abroad.
Jameel blew himself up when confronted at a hideout after the attacks.