Police detain top newspaper editors over publication of missing presidential candidate aide’s ‘body’

January 11, 2016 OPINION/NEWS

By

Robert Ssewankambo

Ugandan police on 7th January, detained the Managing Editors of the newspapers ‘Red Pepper’ and its sister paper ‘Kamunye’, Ben Baryabaha and Mubiru Dickson respectively, after a six hour interrogation over publication of a dead body presumed to be of one Christopher Aine that appeared in both publications last week.

No one was allowed to access the duo who were being detained at the police’s Special Investigations Unit headquarters in Kireka – a Kampala suburb. The duo were interrogated by a group of six police personnel headed by the Acting Deputy Director Criminal Investigations Directorate (CIID), Odong Mark Paul.

The Red Pepper Publications legal officer, Sheba Amanya told journalists that the detectives denied them access to the duo, pending receiving directives from their superiors. “They were detained at 11:00pm on 7thJanuary 2016 and were not charged. We have not been allowed to see them since we arrived here. The officers have told us they are waiting to hear from their bosses,” Sheba said.

Police accuse the duo for publishing a story on 7th January 2016 entitled “Aine ‘Body’ emerges.” Christopher Aine, the head of presidential candidate, John Patrick Amama Mbabazi’s security team went missing approximately three weeks ago and his whereabouts remain unknown. The State accuses him of allegedly assaulting Presidential candidate (incumbent) Yoweri Kaguta Museveni’s supporters who stormed Mbabazi’s rally in Ntungamo, Western Uganda about a month ago.

The Kampala Metropolitan Police (KMP) spokesperson, Patrick Onyango declined to comment on the matter when contacted by press, “You go to Kireka and talk to them. Have they spent more than 48 hours in custody? Why are you following it up?” he told journalists.

Social Media has been awash with said body of Aine who was reportedly arrested from his home in Kisaasi about 3 weeks ago by armed security men. Both the police and Mbabazi supporters have offered a cash reward for his whereabouts.

In 2013, the State closed down four media houses for 10 days over publication of a letter authored by the then security coordinator, Gen. David Sejusa alleging an assassination plot of those said to be opposed to the president’s son’s presidential ambitions to succeed his father, President Museveni.

 

 

 

 

 

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Robert Ssewankambo

Robert Ssewankambo is a Ugandan writer. Working currently on a freelance basis, he is a regular contributor to major newspapers in Uganda and electronic online magazines and media sources in Africa, such as the Bukedde newspaper, Hindered radio, Red Pepper, Eddobozzi newspaper and African Interest online.

For media enquiries, contact Robert at the following email address: sewankamborobert@gmail.com

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