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Member of parliament assaults journalists at police station

(HRNJ-Uganda/IFEX) - On 20 January 2011, the Masaka district Member of Parliament (MP), Sauda Namagwa, assaulted Issa Aliga, of NTV, and Ssozi Ssekimpi, editor of the Masaka-based Top Radio station.

The incident occurred at the Masaka Central Police Station, where the MP had gone to record a statement about a clash with her political opponent, Freda Mubanda, who is vying for the same seat.

Namagwa and Mubanda had reportedly gotten into a bitter argument at a local meeting in Ssenyange parish, Nyendo-Ssenyange division, in Masaka Municipality. It has been said that Namagwa had not been officially invited to the meeting. The anti-riot police responded to the situation and Namagwa subsequently went to the police station to record a statement.

Namagwa did not want to be recorded by the two journalists as she engaged the police in negotiations. She hit Aliga on his left foot with a stone. She then grabbed Ssekimpi by the collar as she shouted at the two journalists, accusing them of interference. The police just looked on as a scuffle ensued.

Aliga recorded a statement of assault at the Masaka Central Police Station.

The Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) condemns such violence against journalists in the strongest terms possible. The organisation calls upon the police to expeditiously investigate the misconduct and prosecute Namagwa for abusing the very principles which she herself should have been defending.

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