Uganda: Bobi Halts Campaigns As Personal Guard Dies

A personal bodyguard to Opposition presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi, alias Bobi Wine, was yesterday run over by a truck, killing him.

Two other members of his campaign team were shot by security forces and were admitted in hospital in critical condition.

The bodyguard, Francis Senteza Kalibala, was run over by a truck at Busega in Wakiso District and later died at Rubaga hospital.

Another member of his press team, Mr Ashraf Kasirye, was also shot on the head and taken to Masaka Regional Refferal Hospital in critical condition.

Mr Kasirye was bleeding profusely in the head.

Another Bobi Wine supporter, who was not readily identified, was beaten into coma by security forces in Masaka.

Bobi Wine confirmed the death of his bodyguard and immediately announced he had suspended his campaigns.

"We need answers to these continuing acts of violence and we have to pause our campaigns for now. We are going to mourn our dead comrade but we want EC to act," Bobi Wine said yesterday.

He posted on a Facebook post saying Sentenza, a member of his security team, had been run over by military police patrol truck number H4DF 2382, which had blocked the campaign team in Busega while they were rushing Kasirye to Rubaga hospital.

"Francis passed away a few minutes ago at Rubaga Hospital. May your life never perish in vain brother," Bobi Wine said on his Facebook post.

Attends Mass

At about 7:20am yesterday, Bobi Wine headed for Mass at Our Lady of Sorrows Kitovu Cathedral in Masaka. The priest, Rev Fr Ronald Ssekanjako, described Ugandan politics as dictatorial.

"When a father tortures people at home, there won't be peace and that is seen in the leadership. As we go into this election, we hope that people will vote for a younger, peaceful and transitional leader," the Rev Fr Ssekanjako said as church members burst into cheers.

After church, Bobi Wine supporters stood in the yard chanting his names. He proceeded to Masaka Municipality MP Mathias Mpuuga's home for meeting and breakfast.

Shortly after, he emerged to head to Lwengo District for a scheduled campaign.

However, security forces set in and pursued him out of Masaka City centre and to the junction of the road to Lwengo at Kyabakuza.

At Kyabakuza, hell broke loose. Bobi Wine and his team were blocked by police. Teargas and live bullets rung out. A confrontation between Bobi Wine's supporters and security intensified.

Daily Monitor saw Masaka Regional Police Commander (RPC) Enock Abaine aim at Mr Kasirye and shot him with a rubber bullet. Mr Kasirye collapsed from Bobi Wine's car to the ground.

A bitter exchange ensued between officers of the Counter Terrorism (CT) and Field Force Unit (FFU) immediately after the incident. The subject of the rift was not readily established.

The CT team drew closer to Bobi Wine's car as FFU team advanced towards him. More confrontation towards Bobi Wine and his team increased.

Mr Abaine shifted his target to journalists. He commanded his team to neutralise "those that were holding cameras."

From close range, he fired his teargas canister gun and hit NTV journalist Ali Mivule who went down in pain. He was driven to a nearby hospital for immediate attention.

"That was collateral damage and he should leave this place," Mr Abaine answered rudely when asked to explain his attack on journalists.

Mr Abaine, who had plucked off his rank pips from his uniform could not explain why they blocked Bobi Wine from proceeding to Lwengo.

Later, police released a statement confirming the violence at Kyabakuza but counter-blamed it on Bobi Wine.

"This morning our task team in Greater Masaka had violent confrontations with the NUP candidate and his supporters at a check point in Kyabakuza after they defied the route plan agreed upon to Kyotera District.

Tear gas was used to quell the violence and journalists were regrettably caught up during the process of dispersing the violent group.

Notably among them was a Ghetto TV crew member identified as Ashraf Kasirye, who sustained blunt force injuries above the left eye allegedly from a canister," police spokesperson Fred Enanga said in the statement.

"The victim was rushed to Masaka Referral Hospital for medical attention. He remains stable but in serious critical condition and on transfer to Kampala for better management. Our Media Crimes department has taken interest in the matter and opened a case file to investigate the circumstances. We do appreciate the critical role of journalists while covering the campaigns and pledge better protection cover so as to remain safe while documenting violent confrontations. We call upon anyone with digital evidence regarding the disturbing incident to share it with our task team of investigators from CID headquarters," Mr Enanga added.

Journalist targeted

Mr Mivule told Daily Monitor: "This incident was uncalled for because he [Abaine] aimed at me deliberately. I was doing my work just as much as he was doing his."

Bobi Wine and his team retreated and went to Masaka hospital where Mr Kasirye had been admitted. They picked him to take him for further medical attention in Kampala.

"I worked on him and I did not go deep into the wound but I aimed at covering it. I saw fragments of the skull when I was working on the wound," a medical officer at Masaka Hospital told this newspaper later.

At around Busega, another standoff ensued between Bobi Wine team and police and army.

It is not clear how the army vehicle ran over Senteza. But this was not an isolated incident on Bobi Wine's campaign since November 10 when he started his campaigns.

Previous incidents

Late last month, Bobi Wine's right hand man Ali Bukeni, alias Nubian Li, producer Daniel Oyerwoth, aka Dan Magic, and Bobi Wine's head of security, Mr Wilfred Kato suffered injuries as police fired teargas in Kayunga District.

Mr Mpuuga yesterday said: "We have been very peaceful and we shall always be. The mayhem that is being meted out by the men in uniform is very absurd and we hope it stops."

The army spokesperson, Brig Gen Flavia Byekwaso, yesterday tweeted that: "UPDF would like to clarify that late Senteza Frank @NUP-Ug was not knocked by a Miitary Police Vehicle as purported, but rather fell off a speeding Car Reg No UBF 850z (Drone) as he tried to jump to but fell off."

Last evening, Daily Monitor attempted to reach Rubaga hospital in Kampala for details on the death of Senteza and the injured Bobi Wine officials but our efforts were fruitless.

All access routes to the hospital had been sealed off by military police who guarded every entrance or exit.

Who was Francis Senteza?

Francis Senteza Kalibala, 24, died yesterday after an army car allegedly run over his head around Busega.

Senteza, commonly known as Frank within Bobi Wine's camp, was among the private bodyguards of National Unity Platform(NUP) presidential candidate.

According to sources within NUP, Senteza has been one of the most calm persons of all his guards, and he had just joined a few months ago.

Ms Irene Nansikombi, Senteza's sister, said he dropped out of school at St Anthony's Secondary School in Kayunga District before he studied carpentry which he has been practicing around Wandegeya. "We don't know how he joined politics and, especially Bobi Wine. We have now lost him and I don't what to do," Ms Nansikombi said in an interview.

Senteza was born in October, 1996 to Mr John Baptiste Kalanzi and Ms Maria Florence in Masaka District.

While addressing mourners at Rubaga hospital in Kampala yesterday, Bobi Wine said he was saddened by the death of one of his bodyguards.

"He was a very humble friend and I dont know what I am going to explain to his parents. I request you to remain strong and comfort each other," Bobi Wine said before breaking down in tears. Senteza will be buried today in Kirombe Village in Masaka District.

Source: The Monitor

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