10 January 2016

Uganda: Police Attack Journalists On Besigye Trail, Camera Destroyed

Photo: Observer Media
Human rights activists protest a police raid on a newspaper (file photo).

Journalists covering the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC) presidential candidate Kizza Besigye came under fire from Police in Moroto under the command of the DPC George Obia - which attack left the equipment of the NTV crew destroyed.

Trouble started after NTV journalists started filming a road block that had been erected along Moroto-Tapac road to block Dr Besigye from travelling to Tapac Sub-county-one of his strongholds in the Karamoja area, going by his performance in the 2011 polls.

Mr Obia barred the NTV crew from filming the blockade - arguing that it was military equipment - which they could not film without permission-a directive they rejected.

"Who has given you authority to document our military base. Bring all those cameras here [and] if not I am going to destroy everything," Mr Obia threatened before attacking the NTV crew and destroying their camera.

Mr Francis Jjingo, a reporter with NTV who was part of the crew that came under attack, condemned the actions of the DPC - disapprovals that were re-echoed by the Mt. Moroto Regional Police Commander Mr Richard Aruk.

"I don't know where this DPC was trained from I think he's a DPC by mistake we have never experienced this kind of notorious DPC," Mr Jingo said.

Mr Aruk advised the journalists to lodge complaint for police to investigate the case against one of their own.

"On behalf of police force am sorry for what happened but this is wrong. Journalists are very good people to deal with but it depends the way you handle them. I am very sorry for the incident," Mr Aruk said.

The RPC explained that the road block had been erected to intercept a vehicle that was involved in a fatal accident in Amudat and was suspected of using the same route-but not to block Dr Besigye.

The Sunday attack on journalists marks the second time journalists covering Dr Besigye have been attacked by the police.

Two journalists on December 22, last year came under attack as chaos broke out at a primary school in Deputy Speaker Jacob Oulanyah's Omoro County in Gulu District when Mr Oulanyah was accused of organising a gathering at the same time and venue Dr Besigye was supposed to hold his campaign rally.

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