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Uganda: Police officers stone journalists covering story on fire

Riot police block a driveway leading to the home of a leading opposition politician on the outskirts of Uganda's capital Kampala, 20 February 2016
Riot police block a driveway leading to the home of a leading opposition politician on the outskirts of Uganda's capital Kampala, 20 February 2016

REUTERS/James Akena

This statement was originally published on hrnjuganda.org on 24 August 2017.

Police Officers at Katwe Police Station have today, 24 August 2017, stoned five journalists who were covering staff quarters that had caught fire at the police station. The journalists who were attacked are Nassaka Joweria (Kingdom TV), Ivan Mbadhi (BBS TV), Rachel Mabala (Daily Monitor) Carol Nakibule (Delta TV) and Muhumuza Julius of Dream TV.

It is alleged that the fire which started at about 9:30am burnt six units and was a result of one electric coil that was being used for cooking in one of the houses.

Joweria Nassaka told HRNJ-Uganda that they received information that fire had gutted staff quarters at Katwe police station. Upon arrival, they were denied entrance into the station by police officers at the main entrance.

This prompted the journalists to go behind the police station where they climbed on top of a nearby house so as to be able to cover the incident.

"We were on the roof covering [the story], then one of the officers who was not dressed in a uniform commanded other officers who were also not dressed in uniform to throw stones at us. One stone hit me on the forehead and it is swollen," Joweria told HRNJ-Uganda.

Joweria who had just received treatment from the Doctor's clinic in Mengo said that she was still in severe pain.

"When the police officers started throwing stones at us, I jumped from the roof and fell down. My leg got injured in the process… the Kingdom TV journalist was hit on the head and it is swollen," Ivan Mbadhi told HRNJ-Uganda.

When HRNJ-Uganda contacted Emilian Kayima, the spokesperson for the Kampala Metropolitan Police on the phone, he feigned ignorance and said, "I have not heard that, we have a communication gap and nobody has told me anything like that."

"We highly condemn the actions by the police officers whose core mandate is to keep law and order and ensure that Ugandans are protected. Police officers are expected to be exemplary. Such actions would not differentiate trained police officers from criminals," said the HRNJ-Uganda National Coordinator Robert Ssempala.

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