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Journalist dies mysteriously in Ugandan radio transmission house

A freelance journalist, Alex Kule, 25, working with Messiah Radio in Western Uganda was found dead. His body was discovered on the evening of 14 December, in a transmission room near the station mast where he had gone to guard the place,in Kigabira, Lugazi sub-county in Lubirizi district. The postmortem report did not establish the cause of his death.

“When the radio went off, we called him several times but he was not picking up his phone, so I went over to the mast (which is about 2 hours drive from the radio station), I couldn't see him, then I asked the people within the area, but they said they had not seen him that day, so I went to police and the local leaders, who came and broke the door. We found him lying in bed-on his stomach, he was dead. The most shocking bit is that he had switched on the radio at 04:00am (local time) that day. If it had not been for the radio to go off, we wouldn't have known that he was dead,” The security guard, Masereka Tom, who first got to the scene, told HRNJ-Uganda.

The police is however stack on conducting further tests due to lack of resources, according to Iryn, the Lubirizi district CID officer, “The first postmortem was done but the cause of death was not readily established. So, body samples were extracted to conduct further tests in Kampala as soon as possible because we don't have preservatives here in Lubirizi, but I am really confused because both the radio people and the family are failing to raise the money to facilitate the process, I may end up throwing away the body samples.” Iryn said.

The station manager, Reverand Nelson Kibunjulha described the death as mysterious: “It has been really such a mysterious death. We just found him dead in a house. He had gone there on 11th December; he stayed alone in the house. He had cooked and eaten his food. He was found dressed smartly lying dead in bed.”

The station's assistant manager, Florence Nyaburo told HRNJ-Uganda that, “the radio cannot afford meeting the expenses of the second postmortem”.

Kule was buried on 16 December, in Kasinga village, Kitswamba sub-county in Kasese district. He is the second journalist to die mysteriously after Thomas Pere, a Vision Group writer, was found dead earlier this year, and his body dumped in a trench in Wabigalo a Kampala suburb. He had a deep cut on his head.

The police said it is investigating the matter but no conclusive report has since been issued.

“This is a very sad moment for the media industry and Kule's family. The police should investigate to establish the cause of the journalist and produce a comprehensive report. The radio should explain the circumstances under which a journalist was deployed to guard the transmission house, which is not his expertise,” said HRNJ-Uganda National Coordinator, Robert Ssempala.

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