Ugandan police say protester shot 'in self-defence'

One person has died after being shot by a policeman during a protest over the ongoing detention of pop star-turned-MP Robert Kyagulanyi, a police official said on Friday.

Regional police chief Francis Chemusto said officers were responding on Thursday night to a protest in the home town of the MP, who is better known as Bobi Wine, in Bukalamuli, some 120km west of Kampala.

"Protesters were burning tyres in the middle of the road. When our officers reached the scene they ordered the protesters to stop but one man rushed into his house and picked up an axe and a panga (machete) and charged towards our officer, who shot in self-defence and injured him," said Chemusto.

"The man was rushed to hospital with gunshot wounds but has unfortunately died," Chemusto said, adding the officer involved had been arrested.

Kyagulanyi moved from Bukalamuli to a poor neighbourhood of the capital where he began a music career, becoming known as the Ghetto President, and became an MP in a by-election last year.

For many, he embodies the struggles, frustrations and hopes of the young, poor and marginalised in a youthful nation whose often elderly rulers can seem dismissive of their plight.

The protester is the third person to be killed since August 14, when a rowdy crowd allegedly led by Kyagulanyi smashed the windscreen of President Yoweri Museveni's car during campaigning for a hard-fought by-election in the town of Arua.

In the ensuing chaos, police fired live rounds to disperse the crowd. Kyagulanyi's driver was shot dead during the events, but police say they have yet to establish who killed him.

The 36-year-old pop star was arrested alongside four other MPs including opposition lawmaker Francis Zaake.

Police opened fire on a protest by Zaake's supporters on Sunday, killing a man travelling in a bus carrying football fans who were not involved in the demonstration.

Kyagulanyi detention has sparked protests in Kampala, and outside the capital, with small demonstrations also taking place in Nairobi, London, Washington and Tokyo.

The singer was on Thursday charged with treason.

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