Monday, October 11, 2010

Reporter beaten up, survives being lynched

Masaka, 11th/10/2010; A reporter with Masaka-based Top Radio Bwekumbule Frank has survived being lynched by a mob as he was covering the demolition of a house.

Bwekumbule, 26, a resident of Kanabukulira Kabonera Subcounty, Masaka district was on Sunday 10th/10/2010 at 5:00pm local time tipped off by one radio listener about the demolition incident which was taking place at Butaya village, Kabonera Sub–County in Masaka district.

Bwekumbule, who joined Top Radio in 2009, informed Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) that he arrived at the news scene and found family members of one Jjumba Ssegwanyi destroying a house of their fellow family member only identified as Bakatadde.

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.

HRNJ-Uganda has learnt that before the demolition, a meeting had been earlier convened and resolved to take action against Bakatadde as a way of evicting him from their father’s land.

“Upon reaching at the scene, I found people who surely knew me better including my former primary school head teacher Lukwago Issa. They were able to identify me. They immediately pounced on me and started beating me up accusing me of interfering with family matters” Narrates Bwekumbule.

He adds that, “After that, they pushed me into a ditch nearby before pulling me out and dragging me into one of their cars claiming they were taking me to police. At this moment my former head teacher tried to strangle me. He was very furious.”

Bwekumbule was saved by the locals who were attracted by the noise of the scuffle which lasted close to an hour.

“I sustained injuries on my left leg and severe chest pain as a result of the beating. But I thank so much the locals who rescued me before I was killed like my former workmate Paul Kiggundu who met his death at the hands of the commercial motorcyclists in almost a similar way,” Bwekumbule painfully says forcing a smile on his face.

Journalists operating in central and southern regions are at greater risk after two journalists namely: Paul Kiggundu and Dickson Ssentongo were killed in course of their work and high number of cases committed against journalists in the month of September 2010.

He reported a case of assaulted and malicious damage to his cell phone to Kirimya police. However no arrests had been made by the time of this report.

“There is an escalation of mob justice against journalists in this particular part of the country. So Human Rights Network for Journalists challenges the leadership in the country to take this as a very serious matter. We believe that this was total abuse of the law, and so the police must arrest and prosecute all the individuals involved without fear or favor with utmost urgency,” Demands HRNJ-Uganda’s Board chairman Robert Ssempala.

We must bear pressure on the police this time round. So HRNJ-Uganda is giving the police up to this Friday 15th/Oct/2010 to have arrested all the culprits or else we take an action in protest.

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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