Uganda: Eight journalists arrested for covering Bobi Wine’s return

Police in Uganda have reportedly detained at least eight journalists covering the return of opposition member of parliament,  Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine, from the United States.

The journalists were arrested at Entebbe International Airport in Kampala and detained for about four hours, and their equipment confiscated by police officers. Media reports state that the arrests are the latest incident of Ugandan security personnel assaulting and arresting journalists covering political tension connected to Kyagulanyi and his supporters. Journalists had gathered at the airport to witness the return of Robert Kyagulanyi from the United States where he had been receiving medical care following assault against him by Ugandan security personnel a month ago.

Opposition politician, Robert Kyagulanyi (popularly known as Bobi Wine) is the current face of Uganda’s struggle against the Museveni dictatorship.

Henry Lubulwa, a journalist from Uganda Radio Network who was among those arrested, identified the other journalists as Diana Kibuuka from CBS Radio, Eve Muganga from Daily Monitor, Charles Katabalwa from Radio Sapientia, Luwamba Julius from New Vision, and Emmanuel Nkata, from Prime Radio. Sirajje Kiberu, with the privately owned KTV, said in a Facebook post that he was arrested on his way to the airport. Sematimba Bwejjire, of the privately owned Radio Simba, says he was reporting near the airport when police officers confiscated his phone, and held him for about two hours.

“These detentions and the unrelenting crackdown on press freedom are making Uganda a hostile environment for journalists,” CPJ’s Muthoki Mumo said.

Uganda police spokesperson Emilian Kayima denied that “media personalities” were targeted for arrest because they were covering Kyagulanyi’s return, but acknowledged that “some journalists were questioned in accordance with the set guidelines.”

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