Journalists Released, Several NUP Supporters Remain In Police Custody

Uganda RedCross Society volunteers look on as police officers try remove the tree logs protesters used to block the main road. 2 Photo by Samuel Nkuba

Security officers have released four journalists who were today arrested on the campaign trail of the National Unity Platform-NUP presidential candidate Robert Kyagulanyi. 

They were arrested with over one hundred NUP supporters at Kigerekyanvubu forest,  in Mugoye sub county, Kalangala where a road block was erected.

The journalists include; BBS TV' s Calton Scovia Nakamya, CBS's Emanduso reporter Silver Ssemugenyi and Daily Monitor's Dennis Mubiru and Derrick Wandera. They were released without any formal charges.

After her release Nakamya tweeted that "the crime I was accused of is giving updates."

The journalists  were arrested and detained at Kalangala Central Police Station for close to two hours and only released after Kyagulanyi was airlifted from Kalangala in a military chopper. 

Some of the journalists have also decried mistreatment on the campaign trail by security officers in Kalangala. They include Hussein Dungu, a journalist at Radio Ssese, the only radio station in the district. Dungu says he was beaten by two military police officers at the station's main gate. He has sustained injuries on his left arm and is currently receiving medical treatment.

On Sunday, some journalists were also beaten while covering Kyagulanyi's visit in Masaka.  As a result, journalists and activists have condemned the  brutality by security officers, and some journalists have now vowed to boycott security-related events until the perpetrators are punished.

Meanwhile,the  NUP supporters and Kyagulanyi's advance team members are however still in police custody.

According to a statement from the Uganda Police Force,  Kyagulanyi's campaign meetings in Kalangala District have been blocked because he flouted measures to combat the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Kyagulanyi was expected to campaign today in Kyamuswa County areas including Kachanga- Kacungwa in Mazinga Sub County, Kisaba, Namisoke and Misonzi and Kalangala Town Council at Kaala Play ground.

He was however blocked in Mugoye sub county, which is 20 kms away from the play ground and has since been ejected from Kalangala.

However, the police statement says Kyagulanyi was restrained, not arrested,  "for continuously holding massive rallies amidst the increased threats of the Coronavirus in total disregard of the Electoral commission and Ministry of health guidelines."

Police further explains that Kyagulanyi's advance team have been arrested because they were  "captured on CCTV cameras deflating tyres of police motor vehicles, inciting violence, obstructing police officers on duty, violating the health and safety protocols and various traffic offences."

Meanwhile, security officers have been in running battles with protestors in Kalangala Town Council. NUP supporters have staged protests in Kalangala Town council. Security officers are firing live bullets and tear gas canisters to disperse the protestors for the last one and half hours.