'Probe attack on journalist,' group urges Ugandan authorities

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has called on Ugandan authorities to investigate two attacks on a journalist, Damba Wiziri that happened while he was covering a parliamentary election in Sheema municipality last month.

In a statement issued this week, the CPJ said that the lack of a police investigation into the incident was casting doubts on their work.

"The police should expedite investigations into the attacks on journalist Damba Wiziri and hold those responsible to account," said Muthoki Mumo, CPJ Sub Saharan Africa Representative. "The media plays a crucial role in ensuring the transparency of elections, and any obstruction of coverage makes one wonder what officials are trying to hide."

Wiziri, who works for the majority state-owned Vision Group's print, television, and online platforms was attacked on July 27 and 30 by at least four suspects.

According to the Human Rights Network for Journalists – Uganda, Wiziri filed a complaint of assault, robbery and threats of violence against the four suspects, but there was "no progress on his case". 

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Damba told the HRNJ-Uganda team that visited him that the four suspects attacked him while he was covering a demonstration by the Forum for Democratic Change for Sheema Municipality Parliamentary Seat.

He said that he was photographing the demonstrators while riding a boda boda - a motorcycle taxi - when an attacker pulled him from the back of the boda boda and dragged him into the nearby offices of the Integrated Community Based Initiatives (ICOBI) - a health-focused non-governmental organisation linked with the winner of the Sheema parliamentary election and Uganda's science minister, Elioda Tumwesigye.

The demonstrators were said to have been protesting a fraudulent election results against their party’s candidate Virginia Mugyenyi that were won by Tumwesigye.

Demba also said the attack took place before a senior police commissioner who just stood by and watched as the four men attacked him.

It remained unclear whether the four suspects who were identified as Robert Baijuka, Charles Tashorora, Godwin Arikwera and Coled Twesigye had any links to the police.

Police said they were investigating reports on the assault.