Police in Arua District on Monday preferred charges, of inciting violence and malicious damage to properties, against two NTV journalists before releasing them on bond.
Herbert Zziwa and his camera man Ronald Muwanga were arrested by operatives in plain clothes in Arua Municipality on Monday evening while covering a murder scene where Kyadondo East MP Robert Kyagulanyi’s driver was shot dead.
The duo was arrested along with 32 other opposition politicians shortly after chaos had erupted in Arua Municipality when supporters of Kassiano Wadri reportedly clashed with supporters of Ms Nusura Tiperu, the NRM candidate.
They were briefly detained at Arua Central Police station before being driven to Gulu Central Police station on Tuesday morning.
Journalists speak out on their arrest
Mr Zziwa in an interview with Daily Monitor said at about 7:40 pm, they were tipped off about an incident at Pacific Hotel that a person moving with Bobi wine was shot dead.
“We rushed there at the scene, we started doing our work, we found security personnel and after a few minutes, they started beating everyone at the scene including journalists.
He said the security personnel first begun by beating his camera man but when he tried to save him, they turned on him too.
“I tried to run to save my life, but the direction I took there were five other security officers who over powered me, they beat me up using sticks, others used their hands and tore my shirt before dragging me to a waiting coaster,” Zziwa narrates.
He said their hands and legs were tied while in the coaster van which was filled with armed plain clothes operatives and UPDF soldiers.
“They continued torturing us, slapped us and stepped on us… they drove us to two unknown locations until 1:00 am when we were taken to Arua Police station. We found other people were also being detained at the facility including Kassiano Wadri, Gerald Karuhanga, Ntungamo Municipality Member of Parliament, Mr Paul Mwiru, the Jinja East Municipality MP among others.”
He added that after handing over their properties including money, phones, and other gadgets they were handcuffed and bundled in a vehicle along with the politicians and driven to Gulu.
“At first we thought they were going to bring us to Nebbi Police station but they instead drove past Nebbi, we reached Gulu at about 5am.”
Unlike in Arua where the police and security personnel roughed them up, Mr Zziwa said the treatment at Gulu Central Police station was different.
Both Mr Zziwa and Muwanga are complaining of having back pain from the beatings they endured in the hands of the security personnel.
The Aswa River Region Police Spokesperson Jimmy Patrick Okema when contacted on the charges said they only provided detention to the suspects adding that the investigation was carried by Police in Arua.
Efforts to get comments from West Nile Police spokesperson Josephine Angucia were futile as she didn’t pick our repeated phone calls by press time.