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Bobi Wine ‘evacuates’ children to the US amid state crackdown on opposition

Ugandan presidential candidate Bobi Wine says he’s been forced to relocate his immediate family from the country ahead of next week’s general elections amid concerns over their safety.

Images on social media on Wednesday night showed three of Bobi Wine’s four children at the Entebbe airport, reportedly heading to the United States, and in the company of a senior family member.

Reports suggest they will be staying with Bobi Wine’s sister in law in the US until the electioneering period ends.

“(President Yoweri) Museveni has been trailing and following my children everywhere,” Bobi Wine, whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, told NTV Uganda on Thursday. He did not however share evidence to back these claims.

“I have had to change their schools. I then had to confine them at home for the longest time because the security was targeting them. Recently, we had very credible information they were intending to kidnap some of my children so as to force me to make statements that I do not believe in.”

“I was (then) advised by various leaders and elders to get my children out of the country for safety. I am glad some friends in the diaspora offered to host them (children) for a while it was generous as it is now. There was a risk my children will be kidnapped and even harmed physically.”

Uganda heads to the polls on January 14, and Bobi Wine, also a celebrated musician in East African, is considered the biggest challenger to Museveni’s 35-year rule. The former guerrilla leader who shot his way into State House is running for a sixth term after the country’s Parliament changed the constitution to remove the term and age limits, clearing his path.

Bobi Wine’s concerns come amid an electioneering period in the country marred by violence including brutal arrests on Bobi Wine and other presidential candidates leading to protests in the country that left more than 50 people dead in November.

Last year, Bobi Wine’s personal driver was shot dead by unknown people whom he claims were police while at a political campaign. And just last month, the politician’s security guard was killed in a freak accident at a rally. Nobody has been charged in court with these offenses.