Gen. Kahinda Otafiire, the Minister of Internal Affairs, has expressed his regret to National Unity Platform (NUP) president Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine, for the recent incident at Entebbe International Airport.
Kyagulanyi was swiftly taken away by security personnel disguised as airport workers upon his arrival at his residence in Magere, Wakiso district. This action was taken to prevent him from conducting a planned march from Entebbe with his supporters.
The minister defended the operation, stating that it prevented potential violence that could have resulted in casualties, particularly among supporters who might have been caught up in stampedes and commotions.
Otafiire emphasized that the operation was conducted with careful consideration of Kyagulanyi’s human rights and ensured that no one was harmed during the process.
“If Kyagulanyi is dissatisfied with how we handled the situation and if anyone was hurt by this action, I apologize to him and all affected individuals, but it was done to safeguard many lives,” the minister stated.
Otafiire made these remarks during a Thursday morning interview on a local radio station, where he responded to concerns raised by a journalist about the handling of Kyagulanyi and the treatment of journalists covering his return. Security operatives brutally attacked several journalists and confiscated their equipment.
While Otafiire commended the operatives for their handling of the situation, noting that previous confrontations between Kyagulanyi and security forces had resulted in casualties, he also highlighted that the operation protected the businesses of ordinary citizens from potential disruptions caused by the march.
The Police had earlier issued warnings against large gatherings to welcome Kyagulanyi, who had been abroad participating in various programs with supporters in the diaspora. Several leaders and supporters were arrested in connection with the matter, and they remained in custody as of press time.
However, the minister did not condemn the mistreatment of journalists, even though several human rights organizations have strongly criticized these actions. These organizations have called for an investigation into the conduct of the security personnel involved.
The Human Rights Network for Journalists Uganda condemned the continued violation of journalists’ human rights and urged authorities to investigate the operatives responsible for these actions.