A lead car in Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s motorcade was on Monday night vandalised in chaos and gun fire that rocked a by-election campaign in Arua town, some 470 kilometres, northwest of the capital Kampala.
The driver of Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi, known as Bobi Wine, was shot dead in the violence that conjured up memories of how the seat fell vacant: Assassination of the constituency MP Ibrahim Abiriga in June.
By 9pm Monday, the whereabouts of MP Bobi Wine, his seven aides and a number of journalists who were covering the event were unknown to their families.
Trouble started as rival candidates, with their supporters, marched to their respective offices after campaign rallies ahead of the Wednesday by-election.
Supporters of Mr Kassiano Wadri Kassiano, an independent but opposition-leaning candidate, marched ahead of supporters of Ms Nusura Tiperu, the National Resistance Movement (NRM) candidate along the Dorcus Inzikuru Street.
Suddenly, gun shots were fired on Mr Kassiano’s group, forcing his supporters to scatter.
The group retaliated by hurling stones at security forces and anyone they perceived as their enemy.
President Museveni was in Arua to campaign for Ms Tiperu while Mr Kyagulanyi was chasing votes for Mr Kassiano but the two leaders were not part of the marches.
According to the police, Mr Museveni’s motorcade was attacked at 6.30pm local time by “hooligans” at Prisons Cell as he left Boma grounds where he had held the last rally for Ms Tiperu.
But that Ugandan ruler was not welcome in Arua was written on the wall: At 4pm as he proceeded to Boma, a grader, registration number UAP 064R,
intercepted his convoy.
The motive of the driver was not immediately clear but police said they believed he was out to commit crime against the president.
The driver was arrested and his vehicle towed to the local police station in Arua.
“It should be noted that this grader was wrapped in the colours as those that were attacking and those smashed one of the lead cars at Prison Cell,” police said in a statement.
“A number of suspects have been arrested to help with investigations.”
It was in this chaos that Mr Kyagulanyi’s driver, Mr Yasin Kawuma, was killed, sparking fear in the lawmaker’s family.
His wife Barbara Itungo, known as Barbie, said she had no idea where her husband and the team of seven people were, as all their phones were unreachable.
“Friends and Family; it’s a dark night tonight. As you all know, our driver has been shot dead in Arua. It’s a very sad day today,” she posted on social media.
“I have no idea where my husband and a team of about seven of his people are at the moment, we have lost touch. All their phones are not reachable and we are all watching out the window to see or hear the next news coming in,” she added.
Those arrested over the chaos include Mr Herbert Zziwa, a journalist with NTV Uganda, who is being held at Arua Central Police Station.
Mr Zziwa was reporting live about the shooting at the scene of the crime when more gun fire erupted.
He suddenly went silent and the screen blacked out.
He was later reported missing until Tuesday when it was announced that he, together with another journalist Ronald Muwanga, were being detained.
Mr Zziwa’s colleagues have reported that his mobile phone number was on Tuesday being used by unknown people to call other journalists.
It is not yet clear on what grounds the journalists are being detained.