Thursday, November 24, 2011

News paper headquarters raided by unknown assailants

Eddoboozi editor Eddie showing our HRNJ-Uganda researcher the vandalised office

Some of the staff of Eddoboozi paper outside the office

A window used by unidentified assailants to enter the building

Some of the items left behind by assailants

Some of the keys used by assailants to open different offices
Eddoboozi News Paper Headquarters that were raided today by unknown assailants

HRNJ-Uganda Alert: News paper offices raided, guard killed

Wakiso, 24th/Nov/2011; Unidentified assailants have raided Eddoboozi news paper headquarters and vanished with property worth millions of Uganda shillings and killed a security guard named Fred Mabonga. The deceased was working with KPI a private security company in Kampala.

Eddoboozi, a bi-weekly Luganda news paper, located at Kyengera, Nsangi sub-country, Wakiso district was raided in wee hours of 24th/Nov/2011 and the said assailants disappeared with vital documents and company computers whose number still remains unknown.  

Eddoboozi a pro-Buganda news paper was established in 2009 at the wake of the banning of open space studio radio programmes  (Ebimeeza) and closure of five private radio stations namely; Central Broadcasting Service (88.8fm, 89.2fm) Radio Ssuubi,  Radio Sapientia and Radio Two commonly referred to as ‘Akaboozi’. The paper stormed streets on 18th/December/2009 and has written extensively on issues of corruption, politics, human rights abuses and Buganda Kingdom issues and concerns among others.

Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) has learnt that this is the second attack on the paper in a period of two months. The first attack saw a security guard being chloroformed and injured by the assailants, but nothing was taken.

This is the third news paper to be raided in a period of two years after the Namanve based Red Pepper whose printer was burnt and Ggwanga News paper whose premises were raided by security operatives and four staffs were arrested. Since then, the paper has suspended its operations.

Sources told HRNJ-Uganda that the assailants used the widow to enter into the premises and moved straight to the administrator’s office where keys to all offices are normally kept.

The paper’s editor, Eddie Mukwaba Katende told HRNJ-Uganda that he learnt about the attack from one of his staff who was the first person to arrive at the office on that fateful morning.

“I rushed after getting the shocking news and upon reaching office, I found the body of the guard lying in a pool of blood. The attackers got the keys from administrator’s office and opened all offices. They took all computers totaling to over 80 in numbers which had stories prepared for the issue meant to come out on 25th/Nov/2011. It’s a big loss to the company” said Mukwaba

He added that the stories they had prepared for were not different from those the paper has been publishing but he cannot rule out being witch hunted.   

By the time HRNJ-Uganda wrote this alert, police in Kyengera had started its investigation but nobody had been arrested in connection to the incident.

“We condemn the attack on the news paper but the police have to prove its usefulness to the citizens because no report regarding the past attacks on media houses has ever been made public including the Red Pepper and the Independent Magazine in 2008. The investigations have gone mute and we do not know in whose interest! With these new dimensions on the attacks on media houses, we also cannot rule out the involvement of the government because findings are concealed” said HRNJ-Uganda Programmes Coordinator Geoffrey Wokulira Ssebaggala

HRNJ-Uganda calls for a quick and open investigation into the raid of Eddoboozi and the release of reports undertaken in previous attacks.

For More Information Contact;
Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda)
Kivebulaya Road at 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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