Wakiso, 21st/April/2012; Rebecca Nakame a reporter with the government owned Bukedde Television was attacked by a mob on the orders of one Hakaya Luswa a special police constable attached to Kajjansi police station. Her camera was damaged and confiscated.
The incident happened at Bweya village, Ssissa sub-county in Wakiso district where she had gone to cover a news story about a family land wrangle. She had not started filming anything when a family member saw her video camera in the bag and reported her presence. Luswa ordered for her beating. She was mobbed by some family members for about 10 minutes, while the others tried save her along with the local council defense chief.
Nakame told Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) that she was kicked, slapped, pushed and pulled by the hair as she pleaded for mercy.
“When I opened my bag to remove and pick a call, the woman next to saw a video camera inside and she told others that there was a journalist in their amidst, it is then that Luswa ordered that they beat me. Two men pounced on me and started the beating before they were joined by others. I pleaded for mercy but they couldn’t heed. I was kicked in the back, slapped, pushed and my hair pulled in an attack that lasted for about 10 minutes. I fell down as I struggled to stand and run away. I survived narrowly, thanks to the area secretary for defense and some other few people especially women who rescued me.” Nakame told HRNJ-Uganda.
She sustained bruises and severe back pain. An assault and theft of property was reported a Kajjansi police station.
“We commend Kajjansi police for the urgency the have accorded this matter and we hope that thorough investigations will be carried out and the culprits will be brought to book. The manner in which the security officer handled the journalist was uncalled for since she was not told that the meeting which was in the courtyard was closed to the media. Hakaya was being accused of mishandling the family land, so that’s why he turned away the journalist in such a crude way. This is a serious case in which HRNJ-Uganda would help the victim journalist get justice.” Said HRNJ-Uganda Programme Coordinator Wokulira Ssebaggala.