WASHINGTON, Sept 10 (Reuters) – The United States is “gravely concerned” by reports of excessive force used by Ugandan security forces against lawmakers and journalists in the northwestern town of Arua, a State Department official said on Monday after the country’s opposition called on Washington to suspend military aid to Kampala.
A group of five lawmakers, including opposition leader Robert Kyagulanyi, a musician known by his stage name Bobi Wine, were arrested in Arua last month. Kyagulanyi and fellow member of parliament Francis Zaake say they were tortured while in detention.
“We have received multiple credible reports of excessive use of force by the Special Forces Command (SFC), including abuse of members of parliament, journalists and others,” the State Department official said in a statement. “The United States has made clear to the Ugandan government that such human rights abuses are unacceptable.”
President Yoweri Museveni has been in power since 1986, on Sunday warned against foreign interference in his country’s politics.
Kyagulanyi has gained popularity for his attacks on Museveni. He was charged with treason last month over the suspected stoning of Museveni’s convoy in Arua. He denies the charge and says he was tortured in detention.
He arrived in the United States last week for treatment for his injuries. Representatives from the State Department met with Kyagulanyi on Thursday “as they have done in the past when he visited the United States,” according to an official