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FILE PHOTO: Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni arrives for a group picture at the BRICS summit meeting in Johannesburg, South Africa, July 27, 2018. REUTERS/Mike Hutchings/File Photo

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By Elias Biryabarema

KAMPALA (Reuters) - Ugandan police arrested three opposition lawmakers and scores of others after stones were thrown at the convoy of President Yoweri Museveni, who has ruled the country since 1986.

Supporters of independent candidate Kasiano Wadri obstructed and attacked Museveni's convoy in the northern town of Arua late on Monday and one vehicle bearing the presidential coat of arms had its rear windscreen shattered, police spokesman Emirian Kayima said.

"Security officers intervened to contain the situation and they indeed halted it from further escalation by use teargas and shooting," Kayima told a news conference, adding that scores of suspects had been arrested.

Those arrested included Robert Kyagulanyi, an independent lawmaker and musician who has gained popularity since he joined parliament last year through scathing criticism of Museveni's government, sometimes expressed through music.

Government officials see his appeal, especially to young people, as a threat to Museveni, whose popularity has suffered due to what some voters say are deteriorating public services, corruption and rights abuses.

Parliament last year removed an age limit from the constitution that would have barred Museveni from seeking re-election in 2021.

Late on Monday, Kyagulanyi, known as Bobi Wine, said police shot at his vehicle and killed his driver during campaigning for a parliamentary by-election due to be held on Wednesday in Arua. Kayima said he was unsure who killed the driver.

Kayima said two journalists had also been arrested during the incident and released on police bond.

(Reporting by Elias Biryabarema; Writing by George Obulutsa; Editing by Matthew Mpoke Bigg)

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Reuters