20 February 2018

Uganda: Journalist Bakka in Bad Health - Wife

Veteran journalist, Rev Isaac Bakka, who was arrested four months ago is in bad health, his wife Ms Sylvia Nalubowa has revealed.

Ms Nalubowa and her daughter Eva Birungi were yesterday at Luzira Upper Prison to meet Rev Bakka for the first time ever since he was kidnapped by unknown persons.

According to the mother, her daughter broke down and cried on seeing her frail looking father.

"He looks very thin from head to toes, it's as if they were denying him food, he is weak. He is nothing but mere bones," Ms Nalubowa said, describing her husband's current status.

Rev Bakka was kidnapped near his home by gun-wielding men who bundled into a waiting car and drove off to an unknown place, until it was discovered recently that he was in Luzira.

Last week, Prisons spokesperson, Mr Frank Baine, confirmed that Rev Bakka was on remand over treason, a charge that carries a maximum sentence of life imprisonment.

According to Ms Nalubowa, Rev Bakka's captors wanted to know his role in recruiting rebels in South Sudan. However, Bakka maintained he knew nothing about the rebel recruitment.

"My husband never goes up-country; all he does is go to town work and come home," the wife said, dismissing charges brought against her husband as baseless.

Rev Bakka's family were chased out of the house they were renting in Misindye, Goma Sub-County in Mukono District. They are currently being housed by a relative in Namugongo.

The family is yet to get a lawyer to represent Rev Bakka starting from February 27 when he is expected to appear in Nakawa court for further mention.

Rev Bakka was kidnapped on October 9, 2017 after someone, alleged to be a South African national, called him for help in finding a space to set up a supermarket.

Relatives reported a case of disappearance at Seeta police on SD Ref. 29/09/10/2017.

Bakka was a freelance journalist working with BTN television as a cameraman and Nile FM.

On Thursday last week, Members of Parliament raised concern on the state of Press Freedom in Uganda following the kidnap of New Vision journalist, Charles Etukuri.

Yesterday another journalist, a one Richard Kasule alias Omugagga Kamagu of Top Radio, was arrested by police on allegations of criminal defamation.

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