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Police officer assaults journalist while covering a land wrangle (Demo)

Butambala, 3rd September 2020; Joseph Kinobe, a journalist working with Bukedde Television in Mpigi district Central Uganda was allegedly attacked on 2nd September 2020 by the Officer in Charge (OC) Kibibi Police Station, Cyrus Besimbire in Butambala district.

Kinobe was in Bunyenye Village, Budde Sub County in Butambala district covering a land wrangle among family members of the late Erisa Mukasa Kafeero.

As soon as he started interviewing the local people at the scene where the Resident District Commissioner of Butambala district Ssebyala Badru had just concluded a meeting with the family members, police from Kibibi police station arrived.

“As I had just started covering people narrating the story, I saw a police patrol vehicle. When the OC Station of Kibibi CPS Cyrus Besimbire saw me covering, he got out of the vehicle and asked me who I am while pulling my Identity card which I was wearing around the neck. He asked me who had invited me to cover and ordered me to stop what I was doing,” said Kinobe.

He added that the said police officer grabbed him by the shirt thereby tearing it. He also grabbed his camera and mobile phone and destroyed the LCD card and the screen respectively.

He further informed HRNJ-Uganda that he did not report the matter at Kibibi Central Police Station on grounds that officers attached to the said police station are biased about the media.

He however raised his concern with the Regional Police Commander (RPC) of Katonga region, Akankwasa Bernard.

When HRNJ-Uganda contacted the said RPC, he regretted the unfortunate incident. “Kinobe reported to me the matter and I regret the unfortunate incident. I will handle the matter and give you feed back,” Akankwasa told HRNJ-Uganda

‘It is so disappointing that a police officer who is a custodian of the law and is expected to be exemplary decided to attack a journalist who was in the line of duty. We condemn such actions in the strongest terms and urge the Uganda Police Force to train its officers on how to handle civilians. The Uganda Police has for seven consecutive times been the leading violator of journalists’ rights according to the recently launched HRNJ-Uganda Press Freedom Index Report for the year 2019. We pledge to follow up this matter until Kinobe gets justice.” Said the HRNJ-Uganda Executive Director, Robert Ssempala.

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