Monday, September 6, 2010

HRNJ-Uganda Alert: Two radio reporters taken hostage

Mukono, 6th/Sept/2010; Striking workers of Sugar Corporation of Uganda Limited (SCOUL) have taken two radio journalists hostage.

Mukono district based reporters; Moses Mawejje a reporter with radio Simba and Herbert Mugaga a reporter with K fm were intercepted and kidnapped inside a thick sugarcane plantation on Friday 3rd/09/2010 by angry workers.

Workers laid down their tools over the week-end protesting against poor remuneration. SCOUL is among the three sugar factories in Uganda based in Mukono district, about 50 kilometers east of Kampala.

Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) has learnt that striking workers blocked Jinja – Kampala highway which actions triggered reporters to visit the news scene. Upon touring the area, reporters fell into an ambush of striking workers who had hidden in sugar cane plantation.

“We were pulled off the motorcycle we were using and impounded it. The workers were armed with machetes and sticks which they used to assault and manhandle us. We were accused of being sent by SCOUL management to spy on them” Mugaga narrated. They spent about two hours in captivity.

HRNJ-Uganda expresses fears over the increasing attacks against journalists in Uganda coming from all corners of society ahead of 2011 general elections. “Journalists currently cannot bank on the protection from the public which they serve. A number of cases have been committed by members of the public particularly this year” HRNJ-Uganda Programmes Coordinator Geoffrey Wokulira Ssebaggala said.

The reporters who sustained injuries later escaped from captivity.

For more information contact;
Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda)
Kivebulaya Road, Mengo- Bulange, Kampala Opp. St. Marcelino Preparatory School
Tel: +256-414-667627 / +256-701-810079

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