Panic as 12 journalists get life threatening messages

Journalists in Masaka on Monday were thrown into panic after an assassin’s hit list was dropped in the southern Buganda town, naming at least 12 journalists lined up for killing over their journalistic work.

The list, well typed on a computer was enclosed in envelopes that were dumped at points were the journalists converge.

The authors threatened to shoot, hack or poison the journalists because of their coverage of various issues in the Masaka sub-region.

Some of the journalists on the list were accused of spying for the state security agencies.

The 12 journalists on the hit list are; Tomusange Kayinja, Kalanzi Jamiru, Male John and Ssozi Ssekimpi of the Central Broadcasting Services (CBS FM), Nsubuga Robert of BBS TV, Jacinta Bwanika of BukeddeTV, Henry Mukasa aka Kipecu and Norman Kabugu of Red Pepper/Kamunye, Dismus Buregyeya of New Vision, Gertrude Mutyaba of Daily Monitor, Issa Aliga of NTV and Farish Magembe of NBS TV.

No specific date was given for the planned killings.

While of the named journalists told IntelPost that they hadn’t taken the threats against them seriously, some others, picking on the previous killings by the ‘Bijambiya’ gang that would attack after circulating similar chits, the current threats cannot be taken lightly.

Some of the journalists have told Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) that they are now fearing for their lives.

“I am in fear for my life given the current trend of senseless killings that start with the perpetrators sending their victims similar threats.” Nsubuga told HRNJ-Uganda

NBS TV’s Farish Magembe whose name also appeared on the hit list.

Buregyeya told HRNJ-Uganda that a team from the District Internal Security Office (ISO) led by Lieutenant Andrew Kandiho had picked the list promising to carry out further investigations.

The development comes a month after Kayinja was shot at by unknown gunmen as he returned home.

“Death threats to the journalists must be taken serious by all the security forces which must then move fast to protect them from the possible attacks by anonymous people, and also investigate to bring the perpetrators to book. Journalists must not be punished for doing their work, instead if anyone is aggrieved by their work, they should resort to the due processes of the law. The safety of journalists must be taken as a priority at all times,” said the HRNJ-Uganda Executive Director, Robert Ssempala.