Aviation officials brutally arrest three journalists over 'computer misuse'

UBC journalist Sulah Kagugube (inset) displays injuries sustained after he was captured by UCAA officials aboard the bus shown in this photo on January 26, 2023. PHOTO/PAUL ADUDE

What you need to know:

  • Journalist Sulah sustained a bruised neck while his colleague Kakoza’s belt was damaged after they were mobbed by UCCA staff. 
  • Another one was unable to lift her head or speak to this reporter citing “traumatization resulting from the incident.”
  • UCAA staff accuse journalists of circulating videos that have recently exposed massive corruption at Entebbe International Airport. 

At least three journalists were on Thursday evening brutally arrested by officials travelling aboard a Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) bus in Entebbe.

The three journalists who include George William Kakooza (CBS FM), Sulah Kagugube (UBC) and camera person Norah Odoi spent more than five hours under detention at Abaita Ababiri police station over taking pictures of the UCAA bus that nearly knocked them dead.

Consequently, UCAA officials accused the trio of “computer misuse.”

"You are spearheading the circulation of photos/videos on social media showing our colleagues extorting bribes from passengers," UCAA staff told the accused.

According to the journalists, they were traveling from Kigungu after covering an NRM Liberation Day related story.

“As we were approaching Kitubulu along Entebbe Road on their motorcycle, an errant taxi driver parked abruptly to pick a passenger,” they said.

They added that: “In an effort to avoid knocking the taxi, they got back on the road but an over speeding UCCA bus nearly killed them before it parked a few meters in front of them.”

Parked by the roadside in fear, the newsmen pulled out their phone to capture the bus details which prompted the UCCA officers to move out of the automobile towards.

“They asked why we were capturing their details and we declined to answer,” the journalists told Monitor.

Eyewitnesses say the UCAA officials manhandled the journalists and forced them –with their motorcycle- into the bus before they took them to Abaita Ababiri police station.

"You journalists have caused a lot of problems to us to the extent that some of our colleagues have been terminated and others arrested. Some of us are grown up and we need to retire. So why do you make us retire in the shameful way?" UCAA staff shouted on the bus. 

Journalist Sulah sustained a bruised neck while his colleague Kakoza’s belt was damaged after they were mobbed on the bus.

Tearful Odoi was unable to lift her head or speak to this reporter citing “traumatization resulting from the incident.”

Efforts to get a comment from UCCA spokesperson Vianney Luggya were futile after our repeated calls on his known number went unanswered overnight Thursday.

However, Kampala Metropolitan Deputy Police Spokesperson Luke Owoyesigire said he was aware of the arrest.

"But I have been told by the Aviation police commandant that they have ordered the Abaita Ababiri Police to release them. I don't know if they are released. I haven’t been given details of the charges but the allegation is that they were arrested by the people on that bus for taking pictures of them," he said on Thursday.

The journalists were detained at Abaita Ababiri police station in Entebbe on January 26, 2022. PHOTO/PAUL ADUDE