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Activist Detained Over Uganda Pipeline Protests Released

KAMPALA –An environmental activist campaigning against a $5 billion internationally financed oil pipeline running through Uganda has been released from detention, according to his employer, the Environmental Governance Institute (EGI).

In a statement issued on Monday, EGI reported that the activist, who had been missing for nearly a week, was found abandoned on the side of a road in Kyenjojo and is now safe.

The activist, identified as John Kwikiriza, endured severe beatings and mistreatment during his detention, and is currently undergoing medical examinations.

Kwikiriza was reportedly detained by Ugandan military personnel last Tuesday.

The EGI has been actively campaigning to halt the construction of the 1,445-kilometer (900-mile) East African Crude Oil Pipeline, which is designed to transport oil from fields in western Uganda to the Tanzanian coast.

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) condemned the detention, labeling it a “particularly worrying escalation of repression.” According to the FIDH, Kwikiriza was apprehended by army officers in civilian clothing.

A senior military officer, speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity, confirmed Kwikiriza’s detention, stating that he was taken into custody for questioning regarding his “illegal activities,” which included mobilizing opposition to the pipeline.

The officer denied knowledge of any mistreatment during the interrogation, adding that the matter could be investigated.

The French energy giant TotalEnergies, which holds the majority stake in the pipeline, alongside the China National Offshore Oil Corporation and the Ugandan and Tanzanian governments, issued a statement in response to the incident. “TotalEnergies E&P Uganda does not tolerate any threat or attack against those who peacefully defend and promote human rights,” the company stated to Reuters on Monday.

©️ All East Africa

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