At least four journalists and three members of parliament were attacked by law enforcement personnel, outside the UN High Commission for Human Rights in Kololo, Kampala.
The incident occurred on the 17th February 2021 as media personnel awaited an address from National Unity Platform leader, Robert Kyagulanyi (Bobi Wine). Kyagulanyi was presenting the United Nations Human Rights Commission (UNHRC) with a petition. The purpose of the petition was for Kyagulanyi to alert the UNHRC on the abduction of his supporters, who he believes security operatives are responsible for. According to the National Unity Platform leader, the abductions began prior to the 2021 elections and continued right after.
While journalists and other media personnel were covering this story they were attacked by military police. According to Turkish news agency Anadolu Agency, four journalists suffered severe injuries. Subsequent to these attacks, Robert Kyagulanyi took and to twitter and said, ‘’Regrettable. Standing in solidarity with the journalists of Uganda, whose work has been turned into a military operation. Quick recovery to all journalists who’ve been battered today! None of us is free until all of us are free. Uganda will be free’’.
Following the heinous and brutal manner in which the journalists were treated, the Chief of Defence Forces General David Muhoozi addressed the media and stated that, “that incident is regrettable, and I would like to take this opportunity to extend my apologies to those friends of ours who were assaulted”. According to US News, the United Nations also requested the Ugandan government to not only investigate this matter, but to ensure that the perpetrators are held accountable.
Furthermore, the Uganda Writer’s Guild issued a statement in which they express their disappointment and disapproval of the incidents that transpired. ’’As we have noted before, we will continue to document collective attacks against journalists and the individual officers who carry them out and those with operational command. Attacks on journalists will not go unrecorded or unpunished. Impunity shall not be allowed to thrive’’. In addition, the Guild stated that, ‘’we are calling upon the security chiefs, particularly the Chief of Defence Forces General David Muhoozi to rein in the men and officers under their command, to publicly condemn attacks on journalists, and to order a transparent and independent investigation into the violence involving security agencies’’.
Just a few hours after General David Muhoozi assured the public that the culprits would be captured; several officers were indeed arrested and sentenced. ‘’Going forward we should also be armed with cameras to capture our side of the story, but also to ensure that we can account for the mistakes that may happen’’, said General David Muhoozi.