Police officers beat up journalists at UMU graduation


MPIGI. Senior police officers and crime preventers attached to Nkozi Police Station in Mpigi District on Tuesday assaulted two journalists attached to Vision Group and destroyed one of their cameras.
This happened at Nkozi village, Nkozi Sub-county during the 22nd graduation ceremony of Uganda Martyrs University (UMU) just days after the former Old Kampala DPC, Joram Mwesigye was convicted of assault and sentenced to a fine of Shs1m and another Shs5m as compensation to his victim, Andrew Lwanga.
The officer in charge of Nkozi Police Station, only identified as ASP Muhindo and a cadet Officer Raymond Ayebare assisted by their policemen and crime preventers attacked and beat up Mr Mathias Mazinga, a New Vision reporter and Paddy Bukenya, a correspondent at Bukedde newspaper.

ASP Moses Muhindo

According to Muhindo, the reporters defied security guidelines of not entering the campus with their gadgets of work and in the process of forcing themselves to enter; policemen and private security guards had to block them.
However, the victims told this reporter that they had already presented their accreditations and press cards but police “just wanted to block” them.

“I just saw a policeman (Muhindo) and others attacking me, started beating me on the head and a crime preventer gave me rapid slaps at the back, stomach and another one kicked me,” Mr Mazinga said.
Mr Bukenya added: “I was trying to rescue my colleague but unfortunately, I failed because the Cadet was more powerful than me. I tried to explain to his boss (Muhindo) but since he was drunk by that time, he just gave my camera a blow and it fell down.”

Mr Paddy Bukenya in a verbal exchange with ASP

Mr Paddy Bukenya in a verbal exchange with ASP Muhindo after his camera was damaged by police officers

However, the Police Commander in Katonga region Saasi Victor Kule told this reporter that: “It is a shame to our officers but on behalf of the force, we are sorry. We shall handle this matter in a lawful manner but let them (journalists) calm down because we are going to help them.”
According to Ms Margaret Nangooba, the Public Relations Officer at UMU, the victims had been invited and cleared by the University authority to cover their graduation ceremony.
“We apologise for any inconvenience caused to our journalists but it was not our fault. They (victims) should blame the Police officers for acting unprofessionally,” she said in an interview after the graduation function.

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