By Andrew Irumba and Denis Turyahebwa
Journalists have given only 48hours to Uganda Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF) to arrest and arraign the soldiers who battered the journalists while executing their lawful duty while covering the free Bobi Wine demonstrations in Kampala on Monday.
Addressing journalists at separate press conferences in Kampala,both Human Rights Network for Journalists Uganda (NRNJ-U)’s Executive director Robert Ssempala and Uganda Journalists Association (UJA) President Robert Kagolo said that failure by the UPDF to arraign the errant officers before courts of law, meet the medical bills of victims, compensate their gadgets damaged and lost in 48 hours, they will be left with no option but to mobilize all journalists and the public to stage a National demonstration against the UPDF.
“We intend to call for total blackout of media on all activities of security forces. These remorse statements issued by the offenders of journalists have become a ritual since they are never backed up by actions,” Ssempala warned.
Before questioning whether the soldiers who battered journalists were not on drugs.
‘’It was though these soldiers were on drugs, how can helpless journalists surrender to you and all what you do is to intensify the beating and then detain’’. Mr. Ssempala said.
Meanwhile one of the victims Alfred Ochwo of the observer narrated the torture that he was subjected to including severe beating, pinching him with pliers, damaging his camera, stealing his phone and money before his detention among others.
Others who were beastly tortured and shortly arrested that day include James Akena of the Reuters, Muhumuza Julius of dream TV, Juma Kiirya, Ronald Ggaliwango of NTV, Kaweesi Kenneth of NBS among others.
It should be remembered that NTV’s Herbert Zziwa and Ronald Muwanga were arrested and tortured in Arua Municipality on the day of the by-election while Metro FM’s Samuel Kyambadde was detained after his talk show but later bonded on condition of reporting to Police every day.