Ugandan police said on Friday that at least 37 people have been killed during protests following the arrest of opposition presidential candidate Bobi Wine on Wednesday.
The 38-year-old musician-turned-politician was released on bail Friday in the eastern town of Iganga after being charged with disobeying COVID-19 guidelines that restrict election rallies to fewer than 200 people.
Wine, who has been arrested several times in recent years, is seen as a serious challenger to President Yoweri Museveni, who has ruled for almost four decades. He has repeatedly called for Museveni to retire.
In a statement late Friday, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres condemned all acts of violence in Uganda and called on authorities “to ensure that all perpetrators of human rights violations are held accountable.” He also called for “the immediate release of any individual who may have been arbitrarily arrested.”
Guterres urged political leaders and their supporters “to participate in the electoral process peacefully, in accordance with the relevant regulations, and to refrain from any incitement of violence or hate speech."
While on campaign trail Thursday, Museveni said some groups of protesters were being used by outsiders who did not like stability in Uganda. He threatened that whoever started the unrest will regret it.
Museveni is expected to address the nation on Sunday, according to his spokesperson.
Presidential elections in Uganda are scheduled for Jan. 14.