Ugandan author and human rights activist, Norman Tumuhimbise, has been arrested ahead of his book launch, his lawyer said Friday, the second writer to be detained by the authorities in recent months.
Tumuhimbise, who heads a local pressure group called The Alternative Movement, was due to launch “The Liars and Accomplices” on March 30, and has been promoting the book, which is critical of President Yoweri Museveni, in recent weeks.
“Tumuhimbise was arrested in a raid by armed security personnel while he attended a meeting with his colleagues at their offices last evening and their whereabouts (are) unknown”, his lawyer, Samuel Wanda, told AFP.
The writer and nine colleagues were bundled into a van on Thursday evening, Wanda said, adding that several calls to the police or the army about the whereabouts of the ten men had failed to yield any answers.
“We suspect the cause of arrest and detention is to do with the book he authored,” Wanda said.
Calls by AFP to the police and the army were not answered.
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The news comes just over a month after award-winning Ugandan author Kakwenza Rukirabashaija fled into exile following his detention on charges of insulting President Museveni and his son.
Rukirabashaija arrived in Germany last month to seek medical treatment after being allegedly tortured in jail in a case that raised international concern, with the European Union and the United States calling for his release.
The charges against Rukirabashaija relate to unflattering comments on Twitter about Museveni, who has ruled Uganda since 1986, and his powerful son Muhoozi Kainerugaba.
In one post, he described Kainerugaba, a general who many Ugandans believe is positioning himself to take over from his 77-year-old father, as “obese” and a “curmudgeon”.
Uganda has witnessed a series of crackdowns aimed at stamping out dissent, with journalists attacked, lawyers jailed, election monitors prosecuted and opposition leaders violently muzzled.