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Five Ugandan journalists survive mob attack

On 29 July 2013, five journalists survived a mob attack when a woman who claimed she was possessed by spirits turned against them and ordered her followers to attack them as they covered a story of reported cult worship at a landing site. Four of them ran away while another was hit with a charcoal stove.

Uganda Radio Network journalist Eddie Bindhe was hit with a charcoal stove by the head of the cult, Julian Nakachwa. He fled when she went to get a panga (a type of machete) from the house. The other journalists in the group were Jacinta Bwanika of Bukedde TV, Issa Aliga of NTV, Dismus Buregyeya of Vision Group and Ali Mambule of WBS TV.

“When Dismus took a photo from the house where these people had converged, the leader charged at us and ordered her followers to attack us but they did not listen. My colleagues ran away as she approached us. I stood still so she hit me with a charcoal stove, I disarmed her of a brick she wanted to hit me with, and so she rushed to the house to bring a panga. It is then that I ran away. I have pain in the leg where she hit me. The police had been informed of the incident but they never came to give us protection,” Bindhe told HRNJ-Uganda.

“We were allowed into [the place of worship] by one of her aides, but when I took a photo, I was surprised when she charged at us. I ran away, but saw her attacking Bindhe,” Buregyeya told HRNJ-Uganda. This information was confirmed by Mambule, Aliga and Bwanika who all also ran away.

The police did not intervene in the matter and no investigations have been carried out. The Regional Police Commander for the area, Maxwell Ogwal, said, “I got in touch with the District Police Commader (Henry Kavuma) but he told me that nothing happened and therefore there was no need to investigate".

It was reported that Nakachwa claimed that primary school pupils should not go to the local school because it was constructed on spiritual land, and that she also stopped women from accessing a landing site.

“Such actions must be discouraged because they pose a threat to the lives of journalists. The police should investigate this matter and bring the perpetrator to book for her actions against the journalists. We commend the community for sparing the journalists,” said HRNJ-Uganda National Coordinator Geoffrey Wokulira Ssebaggala.

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