Ugandan opposition leader barred from flight

Kizza Besigye prevented from boarding flight home following hospital treatment in Kenya, according to his party.

    Uganda opposition leader Kizza Besigye leaves Nairobi's airport after being turned away from his flight home. [Reuters]

    Ugandan opposition leader Kizza Besigye has been stopped from boarding a flight home from Kenya, according to his party.

    Besigye was due to fly from Nairobi, where he had been receiving medical treatment after being assaulted by police during a demonstration last month in Kampala, Uganda's capital.

    Anne Mugisha, a leading official in Besigye's party, said Kenya Airways was told by Ugandan state security "that if Besigye was on board they would not be given landing rights."

    A Kenya Airways source at Nairobi airport ,who asked not to be named, told reporters: "We are made to understand that Ugandan authorities threatened not to allow the aircraft to land at Entebbe Airport if he (Besigye) was on board the flight."

    Journalists at the Ugandan airport were forcibly ejected by airport security and police, and the Ugandan government said it would hold a press conference about the incident later in the day.

    Besigye was being treated for injuries from a series of demonstrations against rising food and fuel prices, which left at least five people dead.

    He was first taken to hospital in Kampala at the end of April after  Ugandan police smashed the windows of his car and sprayed him with tear gas in an incident caught on camera. He was then transferred to a Nairobi hospital.

    Besigye told Al Jazeera at the time that he remained committed to non-violent protest.

    This incident comes a day before Ugandan president Yoweri Museveni's swearing-in ceremony, following his re-election in February elections in which Besigye mounted the strongest challenge yet to his 25-year rule.

    Besigye, 55, won 26 per cent of the vote, while Museveni, 62, took 68 per cent according to official election results, which were challenged by the FDC for widespread fraud.

    Museveni has accused the opposition of trying to spread chaos in response to its loss in the election, saying on Tuesday that he would change the law to deny bail to people accused of rioting and economic sabotage.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and Agencies


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