Friday, February 11, 2011

Special Forces group arrests a journalist, camera confiscated

Masaka, 10th/Feb/2011, Masaka based NTV Uganda correspondent Issa Aliga has been detained by the Special Forces Group (SFG) for filming a scuffle involving Rwemiyaga area Member of Parliament Theodore Ssekikubo ahead of President Museveni’s campaign rally.

Special Forces Group is part of the bigger presidential protection unit.

According to an eye witness, the scuffle ensued after SFG blocked MP Ssekikubo from pinning his banner, 300meters away from Mr. Museveni’s campaign venue.

Ssekikubo is an incumbent MP for Rwemiyaga County seeking re-election on the National Resistance Movement-Organization part chaired by Museveni.

Aliga who was late January 2011 assaulted by MP Sauda Namagwa told Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) that when he reached at Rwemiyaga trading center in Ssembabule district at around 11:15pm, he found a charged crowd which seemed fighting and jumped out of the vehicle to start filming.

“While filming I was roughed up and man-handled by four Special Force Guards personnel who confiscated my camera. I was pushed here and there on accusation of filming an event without permission. I was taken to their bus and interrogated for some minutes after introducing myself to them” Narrated Aliga.

He said after interrogation, he was released and his pleas to get his camera back fail on deaf ears. He was then ordered to go through the usual security checks and attend a campaign rally like any other voters.

Efforts from HRNJ-Uganda to talk to SFG spokesperson Capt. Edison Kwesiga were futile as his mobile phone was switched off.

HRNJ-Uganda has received information to the effect that SFG has barred Aliga from attending Museveni’s rallies following his (Aliga) refusal to record a forced statement.

“Aliga becomes the second journalist to be subjected to such cruel treatment after Red Pepper freelance reporter Kits Mabonga during this same election period. Why aren’t those errant soldiers who survive on tax payers’ money be brought to justice” wondered HRNJ-Uganda Programmes Coordinator Geoffrey Wokulira Ssebaggala.

HRNJ-Uganda condemns such an inhumane treatment of a journalist in the strongest term possible and challenges police to investigate the matter and bring those responsible to justice in the shortest period of time possible.

Failure HRNJ-Uganda will not hesitate to seek legal redress using other means.

Aliga’s camera was however returned late in the evening with deleted video clips.

For More Information Contact;
Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda)
Kivebulaya Road – Mengo Kampala Opp. St. Marcelino Pre. School
P.O.BOX. 71314 Clock Tower Kampala
Tel: +256-414-272934 / +256-414-667627

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