UPDF declines to disclose names of soldiers that assualted journalists
Human Rights Network for Journalists -HRNJ has met with the Army spokesperson Brig. Richard Karemire at the Uganda People Defense Forces Headquarters in Mbuya over the brutal attack on Journalist by army officers.
On August 20, army officers brutally beat and arrested some journalists covering a free Bobi Wine protest at Nakivubo Mews in Kampala.
The following day the army released a statement expressing displeasure over the actions of its officers and committed to take action.
Addressing the press on Tuesday at Hotel Triangle in Kampala, the executive director of Human Rights Network for Journalists Uganda (HRNJ-U), Robert Ssempala reported that the army reached out the organisation on Friday, August 24 seeking for an amicable resolution of the journalists’ stand-off with the army.
The two parties met on Monday and the army reported it had started disciplinary action against the implicated officers.
According to ssempala, the army also committed itself to foot bills of hospitalized journalists.
“So the UPDF spokesperson committed on behalf of the defense forces committed to take firm action against errant officers and informed us that the culprits had been apprehended. He also emphasized their commitment at ensuring justice; the army expressed willingness to foot the bills of the victim journalists,” Ssempala said.
Human Rights Network for Journalists had also demanded that the army makes public the names of implicated officers and their trial.
However, ssempala says the army declined to publicize their officers citing military procedures.
The officers would be taken through internal disciplinary process and Robert Ssempala would be allowed to attend upon invite.
The Chief of Defense Forces Gen. David Muhoozi who failed to attend the meeting due to an emergency would update the public on the proceedings of the trial process.
“One that we did not get is having all of us to attend the trial process of these errant officers. But there was commitment to invite a representative from our team and this time round I was picked on to attend; he pointed out that the chief of defense forces would personally update us HRNJ on the progress of this matter,” added Ssempala.
Government spokesman Ofwono Opondo on Saturday told journalists that the soldiers had appeared before the army’s disciplinary unit which sentenced them to severe caution.
The secretary general of the journalists body, Henry Lubulwa says they are committed to fighting for the rights of journalists in Uganda.
He said continuous mistreatment of journalists had awaked them to fight for their rights.
He called upon the general public to advocate for the right of journalists since they represent and inform them.
“The solidarity of has not been witnessed all over in the previous years but the more they inhumanly treat us, we come together; let each and every one across the country come out to fight such inhuman treatment who give them the news and the information that keeps them in the know,” said Lubulwa.