Uganda: Police launch investigations into journalists’ death threats

Police have sealed off offices of journalists in Masaka Town in central Uganda to conduct investigations into reports that some of the reporters are being targeted by hit men.

This follows circulation of leaflets by anonymous people bearing names of 12 journalists who are said to be the targets.

The said leaflets were dropped at two offices run by warring members of South Buganda Journalists Association (Sobuja).

Police on Wednesday morning deployed detectives to the offices, one located at Kayondo Plaza in Masaka Town and another along Victoria Road opposite Lions Nursery School in the same town.

During a meeting in the Resident District Commissioner’s office chaired by the Masaka deputy RDC, Mr John Kaddu on Tuesday, security authorities resolved that investigations would start with journalists operating in the area after getting reports that the leaflets could have been authored by some of them over unknown reasons.

The meeting was between officers from various security agencies and the journalists.

South Regional Criminal Investigations Officer, Mr Ronald Bogere said they intend to record statements from all journalists and take their finger prints forensic analysis and establish the source of the leaflets.

“Our team is on the ground to carry out the investigations and no journalist is supposed to access those offices now,” he said.

Masaka District Police Commander, Mr Bosco Bakashaba has asked journalists to remain calm and cooperate with police as they investigate into the death threats.

“We ask our colleagues the journalists to clean their house, but as they are doing that, police are not taking this matter lightly. We are going to do whatever it takes to ensure that we get to the bottom of the matter,” he said.

Mr Robert Ssempala, the national coordinator Human Rights Network for Journalists (HRNJ) during his courtesy visit to Masaka Tuesday evening lauded security agencies for taking up the matter and asked them to expedite the investigations so that the perpetrators can be brought to book.

“We wonder what would have happened if these people did not issue a warning and they just attacked the journalists. So we ask journalists to be security cautious since we have tragets of others,” he said.

Divisions emerged among journalists in the region following a disputed election of their leaders in 2016.
One faction led by Mr Edward Bhinde owns an office at Kayondo Plaza while the other headed by Mr Ismail Sozi Ssekimpi occupies the old Sobuja offices along Victoria Road.

At least 40 journalists attached to various newspapers and radios are operating in the Masaka Sub-region.

By Daily Monitor

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