KAMPALA — The Chief of Defence Forces, Gen David Muhoozi, on Thursday apologised for the brutality meted out against journalists by soldiers on Wednesday.
Addressing journalists in Kampala, Gen Muhoozi said the incidents is unfortunate and said investigations will be concluded.
“I apologize to the media fraternity regarding the incidents that happened on Wednesday. Such actions are regrettable and the UPDF as a professional institution doesn’t condone such acts,” Gen Muhoozi said, adding that the journalists who sustained injuries will be assisted in meeting their medical bills.
Shortly after his statement, the Military Police disciplinary unit charged and handed down several sentences to seven of its soldiers who are accused of assaulting journalists on Wednesday, February 18, 2021.
The soldiers beat up the journalists near the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) where Robert Kyagulanyi, aka Bobi Wine, was delivering a petition about a spate of abductions of his supporters.
“The military police unit disciplinary committee (UDC) the lower court of the court martial, today 18th February, 2021 has convened and deliberated on its officer and militants who misbehaved and assaulted members of the fourth estate at Prince Charles lane in Kololo Kampala,” the UPDF deputy spokesperson, Lt Col Deo Akiiki, said on Thursday.
He identified the soldiers as Capt Jessy Odwenyi, Cpl Nimusiima Justine, Pte Wasswa Peter, Pte Tsame Imran, Pte Kisakye Victoria, Pte Opiyo Isaac and L/Cpl Zirimenya Kassim.
The court chairman, Lt Col Gai Mpandwa, who presided over the proceeding, sentenced Capt Odwenyi to 90 days while L/Cpl Zirimenya Kassim was sentenced to 60 days of detention in Makindye military barracks.
Cpl Nimusiima was sentenced to severe reprimand and caution while Pte Kisakye and Pte Opiyo were sentenced to 62 and 60 days in the military prison respectively.
The court reportedly warned the culprits and the entire military police force to be disciplined professional while on any deployment.
The Uganda Editors Guild, Uganda Parliamentary Press Association (UPPA), Uganda Journalists Association (UJA) and the Human Rights Network for Journalists have come out to condemn the acts of brutality against the journalists.