Ugandan musician Ziggy Wyne dies after torture

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Ziggy Wyne.

Uganda – Singer Ziggy Wyne died from a brain hemorrhage at Mulago National Referral Hospital in Kampala on Sunday.

According to local media, the 30-year-old musician, whose real name was Michael Kalinda, was kidnapped on 21 July while on his way to the Firebase music studio, which is owned by Ugandan musician-turned-politician Bobi Wine. Kalinda was brutally tortured and left for dead near the hospital on 1 August.

Kalinda was admitted with serious head injuries. His left eye had been gouged out and two of his fingers amputated. His lawyer, James Mubiru, told NTV Uganda on Saturday that the singer had also sustained third-degree burns to his body, which had been inflicted by an electric iron.

“This had to be political because he has been a People Power supporter,” Mubiru said.

Bobi Wine commented on Kalinda’s death via social media. “Last night, my brother, friend and fellow artist, commonly known as Ziggy Wyne passed on,” he wrote on Facebook. “Ziggy Wyne’s last days on earth were very painful. Those who kidnapped him did to him the worst things a human being can do to another – cut off his fingers, plucked out his eye, grossly tortured him, and left him to die a very painful death.”

“Ziggy was a solid member of the Firebase crew. A hardworking young man and strong supporter of People Power. Like many young Ugandans, he was looking forward to a better country.”

Bobi Wine also implied that the government was targeting members of the People Power movement.

“Friends, the state of our country is worrying. Ziggy is just one of the countless people who are kidnapped, tortured and murdered daily in our nation,” he said. “We receive reports of many supporters disappearing, while others have died in questionable ways, including suspicious accidents. As we mourn our brother, may we resolve to work even harder to redeem our country from this terror.”

Meanwhile, musician Jose Chameleone implored the police to investigate the Kalinda’s death and bring those responsible to book.

“This story is so disheartening. Besides reawakening the saddest memories of our departed brothers, it raises more issues of the raising personal insecurity of Ugandans,” he wrote on Facebook.

“We must condemn these acts of extremism against innocent people in the strongest terms and demand that the police brings the culprits to book, especially now that street cameras are in place. I call upon the fraternity of artists to stand strong against such. We lose artists every year under similar circumstances.”

Jose Chameleone, who recently announced that he would compete for the Kampala mayor’s seat in the forthcoming elections, also requested that the newly elected leadership of the Uganda Musicians Union (UMA) mount pressure on the police and demand answers.

Metro police spokesperson Patrick Onyango told the New Vision on 2 August that investigations into Kalinda’s kidnapping would commence once his family had registered a complaint with the police.

“We will try to establish if it is true he was kidnapped. We will also wait for him to recover and record statements on whether he remembers where he was being detained,” Onyango said.

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