UPDATE | Uganda's Bob Wine was 'restrained' and taken home, police say, slams 'false claims'

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Bobi Wine at Time magazine's100 Next in New York, in 2019.
Bobi Wine at Time magazine's100 Next in New York, in 2019.
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images

Ugandan police denied arresting presidential aspirant Bobi Wine as he tried to campaign ahead of next month's tense election, saying instead the singer-turned-MP had been "restrained" and returned home.

Wine's campaign team said the opposition leader and his entire support crew had been arrested in Kalangala, a district near Lake Victoria, while drumming up support for his bid to unseat veteran President Yoweri Museveni on 14 January.

Police accused Wine's party of making "false claims" about the incident, saying campaign workers had been arrested for inciting violence but the candidate himself was not booked.

"We would like to clarify that the candidate was restrained for continuously holding massive rallies amidst the increased threats of coronavirus, in total disregard of the electoral commission and ministry of health guidelines," police said in a statement on Twitter.

Wine's campaign earlier said on Twitter that he had been arrested. 

Wine has emerged as the strongest challenger to President Yoweri Museveni, 76, in the presidential election on 14 January.

In November, at least 54 people died after protests erupted following Wine's brief detention over alleged violation of Covid-19-related social distancing measures.

Police said at the time they had arrested nearly 600 people and accused protesters, whom authorities had enlisted the help of the military to disperse, of rioting and looting.

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