Ugandan environmental activist freed after five days in detention

An environmental activist in Uganda who is opposed to a huge oil project led by French giant TotalEnergies has been freed after five days in detention, his employer said Monday.

Stephen Kwikiriza was found on Sunday evening dumped on a roadside in Kyenjojo, about five hours' drive west of the capital Kampala, said Samuel Okulony, director of the Environment Governance Institute (EGI).

The activist said he was beaten by army officers, Okulony said in a message to French news agency AFP, adding that he was being treated in a Kampala hospital.

"He is alive, is now safe, and is reconnecting with family. His condition is not good after having suffered severe beatings, mistreatment and abuse throughout the week."

A senior military officer on Monday confirmed Kwikiriza's detention.

"He was taken into custody for questioning regarding his illegal activities including mobilising fellow activists to oppose the oil pipeline," the officer told AFP on condition of anonymity, adding that he was released after interrogation.

"I have not been made aware of him being beaten during interrogation, it's a matter that can be investigated and verified."

International pressure

Okulony lauded "international pressure" for the release of Kwikiriza.

Global rights groups had raised concerns about Kwikiriza's fate after he went missing on Tuesday.

Ugandans sue TotalEnergies in France, accusing it of human rights violations

(with AFP)

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