A Ugandan reporter who was knocked off a
motorcycle by a police tow truck on Saturday while covering the arrest of opposition
leader Kizza Besigye has been hospitalized for his injuries, according to
local journalists. He was the sixth journalist attacked by security forces in the
last 10 days, according to research by the Committee to Protect
Ivan Kabaale of the private broadcaster Nile Broadcasting Service told CPJ he
sustained internal bleeding and will need three to five days of treatment
in a hospital in the central town of Entebbe.
Kabaale was filming as he rode on the back of a motorcycle alongside
a convoy of security operatives who were towing Besigye's car with him
inside it. One of the police vehicles swerved at the motorcycle, knocking
Kabaale and his driver to the ground and shattering his video camera. The
vehicle drove away. "The police will say otherwise but it was on
purpose," Kabaale said, adding that officers did not allow him to file
a complaint afterwards.
Prior to the collision, a plainclothes security agent had ordered
Kabaale to surrender a videotape of Besigye's arrest, but he managed to
give the officer a blank tape instead, he said.
"The collision that injured Ivan Kabaale is the latest in a
disturbing series of attacks on journalists by Ugandan police," CPJ
East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes said. "We're also concerned that
Ivan Kabaale was not allowed to file a complaint, an experience other
journalists have reported as well. We call on Inspector General of Police
Kale Kayihura to investigate this collision, hold the driver accountable,
and end this climate of impunity that his subordinates appear to
Police placed Besigye under "preventive arrest" in Kampala
on Saturday, according to Police Deputy Spokesperson Judith Nabakooba, and
towed the opposition leader's car with Besigye and his political assistant,
Sam Mugumya, seated inside. Police feared the opposition would disrupt an ongoing Inter-Parliamentary Union assembly,
the world's largest meeting of parliamentarians, which started in Kampala over
the weekend, according to local reports. Police Chief Kayihura
had previously announced that no demonstrations would be allowed in central
Kampala during the assembly.
Besigye said at a press conference last week that he believes the
police are targeting journalists covering anti-government demonstrations,
according to local reports. The Ugandan Human
Rights Network of Journalists is planning to halt coverage of police and
security activities if the police do not apologize and investigate recent
attacks, according to local reports.