Several journalists who have been covering stories on the beating, imprisonment and detention of
Mr Robert Kyagulanyi alias Bobi Wine (Kyaddondo East MP) and Mr Francis Zaake (Mityana Municipality MP) say they have been threatened and ordered to stop writing the stories or else get ready to face the consequences.
The MPs and over 30 other people including politicians and journalists were arrested following the chaos that engulfed Arua town on August 13.
Now, some of the Daily Monitor journalists say they have started receiving threatening phone calls from people purporting to be security operatives.
Journalists who covered the fracas on the last day of the Arua Municipality by-election campaigns and those who remained in the newsroom to author stories on the same issues, have been receiving intimidating calls to back off Bobi Wine stories.
Mr Franklin Draku, a Daily Monitor journalist, received a strange phone call while at home on Saturday, the day he had just returned from covering the Arua by-election. The caller demanded he hands over photos and videos of the fracas before they sedated him in his room the same night.
“Shortly after, a lady, who identified herself as Zafra, called, demanding the same. She told me ‘we know where you are and we shall get you’. I put my phone off and after about five minutes, I became dizzy and in this state, I remember a lady wearing a white short dress opening the door,” Mr Draku said.
“She [the woman] switched on the light and went straight for my safari bag and started emptying the contents. At this point, I was unable to move or talk. I eventually lost consciousness. I only woke up on Sunday at about 5pm. On checking around, I discovered that my Nikon camera, a Dell laptop, an I-pad, a Tecno tab, power bank, identity card, phone and laptop chargers and Shs373,000 were missing,” he added.
On Monday afternoon, as Mr Derrick Wandera, another Daily Monitor journalist, covered a press briefing by MP Kyagulanyi’s relatives about the latter’s arrest, he received a call from an anonymous person who threatened him with death.
“We know you are hardly 26 and you are getting involved in these issues of the State. Please back off Bobi Wine’s story if you can. I am not sure you can explain the stories you are writing, for example this one in today’s Daily Monitor [Bobi Wine sustained injuries, says Barbie]. We are watching you. You are too young to die,” the voice on the other side warned.
Police spokesperson, Mr Emilian Kayima, said he has not been briefed about any formal complaint registered by the targeted journalists.
He said they can only punish the responsible security officers when there is evidence adduced.
However, Mr Draku registered a formal complaint at Kira Road Police Station, [reference No: SD REF: 32/19/08/018].
“The problem with journalists is that they make complaints in media but never make formal complaints to police. We can only punish the offenders when someone has made a formal complaint,” Mr Kayima said yesterday.