Uganda – Army Apologises for Beating Journalist
An apologetic statement from the army has described the conduct of soldiers captured on film beating up a journalist as “unprofessional” and has committed to their arrest.
The journalist in question, Reuters photojournalist James Akena, was covering a demonstration in support of incarcerated MP and musician Bobi Wine that took place earlier this week. In the footage Akena is seen being beaten with a stick by soldiers, who continued to beat him even as he held his hands up and fell to his knees.
The statement comes after more than a week of heightened tensions and arrests following an altercation between presidential security officers and opposition supporters in the run-up to last week’s parliamentary by-election.
The victorious candidate, independent Kassiano Wadri, has been charged with treason along with Bobi Wine and there has been considerable concern regarding their condition after reports circulated that Wine had been assualted. Human Rights Watch have called on the Ugandan security forces to stop attacks on the media and respect the rights of protestors.
Top musicians from across the globe including Angelique Kidjo, Femi Kuti, Chris Martin, Brian Eno and Damon Albarn are also seeking to apply pressure on the government, having signed an open letter calling for Robert Kyagulanyi’s, aka Bobi Wine, release.