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Reporting equipment, external hard drives stolen from Ugandan journalist's home

HRNJ-Uganda

This statement was originally published on hrnjuganda.org on 15 January 2016.

Unknown people broke into the house of a journalist and rights activist Mulindwa Mukasa in Lungujja Kituunzi, a Kampala suburb on January 12, 2016 and took his laptops, two video cameras, a mobile phone, three information back-up external drives and 500,000 Ugandan shillings. The intruders forced open Mulindwa's back door while he was asleep. Mulindwa – the immediate former Board Chairman of HRNJ-Uganda – said he lost vital information and property.

“These were not ordinary thieves. It was a highly sophisticated intrusion into my house which I believe did not last long. They were interested in items where I store my information. They specifically went for information gadgets and ignored items that I would expect an ordinary thief to carry such as TV, radio and even a brand new (boxed) home theatre system among other things,” Mulindwa told HRNJ-Uganda, adding that when he woke up at around 1am local time he noticed that the door he locked when going to bed was open.

Mulindwa, was last year acquitted by a magistrate court in Kampala on charges of 'obstruction' brought against him by the then Wandegeya District Police Commander Julius Ceaser Tusingwire. The charges were brought against Mulindwa after he had dragged the police officer to high court over inhuman and degrading treatment. The case is before Justice Lydia Mugambe in which Mulindwa is seeking court to declare Tusingwire unfit to hold any public office among other prayers.

“I am paralyzed. All the information I have gathered for a very long time is lost. I do not know the motive of the attackers and what they intend to do with it,” the shaken Mulindwa – who also works for international news agency the Associated Press – told HRNJ-Uganda.

Mulindwa – a known advocate of free expression and the press ‐ has been arrested, detained and released without charge on a number of occasions. In May 2013, he was arrested and detained at the Kisugu Police station for several hours while protesting the closure of the Daily Monitor and Red Pepper newspapers. Police accused him of inciting violence, but was released without charge.

“HRNJ-Uganda's office was broken into in June 2015 and information-related equipment and confidential information made away with. Shortly after, unknown intruders broke into the residence of one of the officers of HRNJ-Uganda and made away with information related equipment, [when] she was away from home. We believe that these are coordinated attacks on the staff and the organisation. The police should investigate and produce reports of all these incidents,” said the HRNJ-Uganda National Coordinator, Robert Ssempala.

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