Thursday, October 14, 2010

Police arrest and release journalist’s attackers

Masaka, 13th/Oct/2010; Police in Masaka has arrested two people in connection to assault of Top Radio journalist Bwekumbule Frank.

Bwekumbule, 26, was on Sunday 10th/10/2010 at around 5:00pm local time assaulted at the news scene while covering a demolition of house which belonged to one Bakatadde. The house was destroyed by his family members of one Jjumba Ssegwanyi.

They accused him of disrespecting their ageing father Jjumba Ssegwanyi by not greeting him and insulting him whenever he meets him. The two have been occupying the same piece of land.

Bwekumbule was accused of interfering with family matters.

The arrested include Jjumba Ssegwanyi in his 70s and Lukwago Issa in his 50s. They were arrested on 12th/Oct/2010 from their residence at Butaya village, Kabonera Sub County, Masaka district in Southern region.

Masaka district police commander Titus Byaruhanga told Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) that the suspects were arrested at 12pm and released on bond at 2pm after recording a statement.

“We are investigating the truth of the matter because the case lacks evidence. The body parts claimed attacked had an old scar and was not swollen” Byaruhanga said.

Sources at Masaka Police station told HRNJ-Uganda that Bwekumbule and the two suspects were locked inside a private room on 12th/Oct/2010 to discuss possible ways of settling the case before it’s taken to court.

Bwekumbule confirmed to HRNJ-Uganda having met suspects at Masaka police station but did not submit to their requests. “They were pushing me to accept payment. I insisted that the case was beyond my control and being handled by journalists’ protection body” Bwekumbule said. Until he gets a response from Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda he cannot accept such offers.

“Although we live on the same village with the suspects but I am mindful of increasing violence against journalists in Uganda particularly Southern region” Bwekumbule said.

The suspects are supposed to report back to Masaka police on 19th/Oct/2010.
Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda warns the police in Masaka against assisting suspects to escape the law. “Police must exercise its independent and avoid compromising its constitutional obligation. “The economic status of somebody should not be a basis to determine who to face the law or not” HRNJ-Uganda Programmes Coordinator Geoffrey Wokulira Ssebaggala said.

HRNJ-Uganda demand that police should quickly conclude its investigation and take the culprits to court failure a private prosecution case will considered.

For more information contact;
Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda)
Kivebulaya Road, Mengo- Bulange, Kampala Opp. St. Marcelino Preparatory School
Tel: +256-414-272934 /+256-414-667627 / +256-701-810079
Toll Free helpline: 0800144155
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