KAMPALA – A South Sudanese journalist attached to Nation Media Group was kidnapped and tortured on Sunday afternoon by unknown assailants.
Joseph Oduha, a correspondent based in Juba said the incident happened at around 1:00 pm near the premises of Ministry of Internal Affairs but he was eventually taken away on a motorcycle to an unknown location where he was beaten badly.
According to the victim, the two kidnappers who were dressed in long dust coats came on a motorcycle and ordered him to board the bike while threatening to kill him should he reject or make an alarm.
“I was just walking by the roadside. They stopped in front of me and quickly dragged me on to the motorbike and drove me to an unknown location where they tortured me.” Mr Oduha said while speaking to our reporter on phone on Monday morning.
He noted that the two unknown kidnappers whom he suspects to be Ugandan nationals said they were looking for him then took him to meet two other assailants at an unknown location within Kampala where he was tortured.
He said the other two who were waiting for him seem to be South Sudanese.
“I was kidnapped within the street of Kampala near the Ministry of Internal Affairs. The kidnappers were two. They rode on a motorbike. I was just walking by the roadside, they stopped in front of me and quickly dragged me onto the motorbike and drove me to an unknown location where they tortured me. They can’t even talk to me more at the time of kidnap.
In that location where they took me to, there some of their colleagues who looks like south Sudanese national but they were speaking to me in English only. They beat me up, kicking and boxing were the order of the day.” he narrated
Oduha noted that the assailants were probably trailing him since the day he came to Kampala a few days ago. He suspected that incident happened in relation to his work as a journalist.
“It seems the attackers might have been trailing me and monitoring my movement here in Kampala. I still don’t know the reason for the attack but I believe it may be related to my profession because they told me they were looking for me but when I asked them why? There was no answer. I got afraid because I thought they would gun me down if I don’t comply with their orders. I don’t know if they have a gun or not because all were dressed up in long dust coats.”
After gaining some momentum amidst the scuffle, Oduha said managed to run to the roadside and the assailants never followed him nor pick property from him.
“When I ran to the road they decided not to follow me there. They were 4, one of them also told the others that let him go he had felt it. I straight away went to the Embassy of South Sudan and reported the case there.”
He said he sustained injuries on his body and has is feeling alot of pain in his arms and belly as a result of repeated kicking and punching by the assailants.
However, when we contacted the Embassy of South Sudan in Kampala, an official who only identified herself as Ms. Connie said they are not yet aware of the complaint.
She said it was unfortunate that the Embassy is closed on a Sunday and the security personnel at the premises are not entitled to receive such complaints.
“We don’t open the embassy on Sunday. Nobody came here in regard to that and I am not aware of it neither my colleagues. He should come to the embassy and let the official concern take it up or should have reported to the police because the security at the gate are not entitled handle such case” Ms Connie responded through phone interview on Monday, September 16.
Mr. Robert Ssempala, the Executive Director of Human Rights Network for Journalist-Uganda also said they are not yet aware of the incident. He requested the victim to contact them so that they can get involved.