Bobi Wine protests: Uganda army sorry over beating journalists

Tyres burning during a protest Image copyright AFP

Uganda’s army has made a rare apology after soldiers were caught on film beating up a journalist who was covering a demonstration supporting detained MP Bobi Wine on Monday.

Other journalists were also beaten as they were reporting on the protests.

An army statement described the soldiers’ conduct as “unprofessional” and said they would be arrested.

There has been political tension in Uganda after Wine, and four opposition MPs, were arrested last week.

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

In footage shared online Reuters photojournalist James Akena can be seen being beaten with a stick by two soldiers on a street in the capital, Kampala.

The beating carried on even after Mr Akena put his hands up and fell to his knees.

He was left bruised and is now undergoing medical tests, the BBC’s Catherine Byaruhanga reports from Kampala.

On Monday one person was killed and more than 100 arrested.

Last week, two journalists were arrested as they reported live from the northern town of Arua, where Wine’s driver was killed during a by-election campaign, which was won by one of his allies.

Image copyright AFP

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

In a statement, the army says it is committed to having a “strong partnership” with journalists.

Wine, a popular Afrobeats musician whose real name is Robert Kyagulanyi, was elected as an independent MP last year.

He 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, but the military, which is holding the MP, says that is not the case.

President Yoweri Museveni has dismissed the reports that Wine had suffered serous injuries as “fake news”.

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