Uganda army apologises after reporter beaten

Tuesday August 21 2018

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Ugandan soldiers force civilians to kneel during demonstrations on Nasser Road in Kampala, Uganda, on August 20, 2018. PHOTO | ALEX ESAGALA | NATION  

By BBC
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The Ugandan military has apologised for what it called the unprofessional conduct of soldiers after a Reuters journalist was beaten and arrested as he covered a protest in the capital, Kampala, on Monday.

In a video widely shared on social media, Reuters photographer James Akena is seen cowering as soldiers beat him.

According to AFP news agency, he was detained for several hours after being beaten.

In a statement, the military said that soldiers who had molested journalists would be arrested and punished.

Earlier Human Rights Watch called on the Ugandan police and military to stop attacks on the media and respect the rights of all protesters.

On Monday one person was killed and more than 100 were arrested during protests over the detention of several opposition MPs and activists.

Last week two journalists were arrested as they reported live from where a driver of the detained MP and musician Robert Kyagulanyi — known as Bobi Wine — was killed.

Human Rights Watch wants an independent investigation into the shooting of Yasin Kawuma.

It says the beating and arresting of journalists is evidence the Ugandan authorities want to cover up the conduct of the security forces.

Wine, a popular Afrobeats star who was elected as an opposition MP last year, remains in detention and is due to appear before a military court on Thursday on charges of unlawfully possessing firearms.

His family allege he has been beaten up in custody.