Police raid newspaper house, detain staff over article

Ugandan police on Wednesday raided the office of a local newspaper,
detaining staff and confiscating equipment on allegations it had published an
inaccurate story, the paper’s lawyer and police said.

On Monday, “Red Pepper”, Uganda’s leading tabloid, published a story
alleging that Rwanda believed President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda was
plotting to oust him.

The article cited unnamed sources.

Police spokesman, Emirian Kayima, said eight managers and editors at the
newspaper’s Kampala head office were detained after police searched the
paper’s Kampala office on Tuesday evening and confiscated computers and
mobile phones.

Kayima said the eight staff were being held at a detention facility in eastern
Uganda and would appear in court when investigations were complete.

He said the story contained “serious statements and insinuations…that have
grave implications on national and regional security and stability.”

The paper’s lawyer, Maxma Mutabingwa, said uniformed police told Red
Pepper staff during their search that “they wanted material and information
on a story published on Monday.”

He said homes of some of the managers were also searched but gave no
details.

Red Pepper was not published on Wednesday and staff had not been allowed
to access the offices since the raid, Mutabingwa said.
Human rights groups say harassment of independent media by security
personnel has been escalating in the East African country where Museveni,
73, has ruled for 31 years.

Local media including Red Pepper have reported this month on tensions
between Uganda and neighbouring Rwanda over a range of economic and
security disputes.

Relations between the two countries are often complicated by their shared
history which has by turns been a source of mutual suspicion and amity.
Kagame, the Rwandan leader, grew up as a refugee in Uganda and also
occupied a top position in the Ugandan army after serving in the guerrilla
movement that helped Museveni take power in 1986.

The Rwandan leader launched his own rebellion from Uganda that ushered
him into power and halted a genocide in Rwanda in which an estimated
800,000 people were killed.

Source : Vanguard

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