About 10 journalists are nursing injuries after they were assaulted by the military police personnel who were hell-bent on stopping them from covering the delivery of a petition against growing heinous human rights abuses by the Uganda Government to the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights by former presidential candidate Kyagulanyi Ssentamu Robert.
The journalists had gathered a few meters from the offices on the instructions of the police when two military patrol cars pulled up and the commanding officers ordered for the indiscriminate beating of journalists using batons.
At the end of the beating spree, scores of journalists had been inflicted with bodily injuries with some beaten on the back while others directly on their heads. The victims are; John Cliff Wamala & Geoffrey Mwesigye both of NTV, Irene Abalo of Daily Monitor, Josephine Namakumbi Sabiti Joseph & Kitimbo Thomas of NBS TV, Timothy Murungi & Henry Ssekanjako both from New Vision, Alice Naluggya (BTM), Nicholas Bamulanzeki (Sanyu FM) Rashida Nakayi (Galaxy FM), Lawrence Kitatta and Shamim Nabakooza of Record TV among others.
When contacted by HRNJ-Uganda, Namakumbi said “We did no wrong, we had gone to cover the submission of the [Kyagulanyi] petition and we had remained some meters away from the entrance on instructions of the police and two military patrol cars came, military personnel jumped off and started beating journalists.”
She added that she was hit with sticks on the back and fell down, the military officer wanted to continue beating her but when he heard one of the colleagues say he was capturing everything, the officer ordered her to leave immediately.
Namakumbi said she had received some treatment but was still feeling pain in the back.
When we reached out to Patrick Onyango, the Police spokesman in charge of Kampala metropolitan, he directed us to produce the case reference or leave him alone.
“I need a reference. I don’t deal with cases that are not reported. First, go report the case and call me back.” Onyango said before hanging up.
“We condemn this act of violence meted against journalists who were doing their work as guaranteed under Article 29 of the Constitution of Uganda. Covering opposition politicians should not be regarded as a crime against journalists. We appeal to security agencies to appreciate the role of the media in information dissemination.” Said the HRNJ-Uganda Executive Director, Robert Ssempala.”