DPC attacks Monitor journalist over stories

Good Samaritans help a man injured by a police stray bullet during the arrest of a suspected traffic offender in Busia District on October 2. The DPC said such stories taint the Force’s image. PHOTO/FILE

What you need to know:

  • The police boss allegedly attacked the journalist for covering a shooting incident at Mukorobi Trading Centre. 

The Busia District Police Commander, Mr Didas Byaruhanga, has allegedly attacked a Nation Media Group-Uganda (NMG-U) journalist, Mr David Awori, for his critical reporting about the Force and Uganda Revenue Authority (URA).

This follows an October 3 story which run on NTV-Uganda, highlighting a shooting incident at Mukorobi Trading Centre, Lunyo Sub-county in Busia that left three residents injured.

On the fateful day, Mr Awori spoke to the victims who were admitted to Masafu Hospital, their family members and the Office of the RDC.

Mr Byaruhanga declined to comment on the incident and instead allegedly advised the reporter to drop the story, calling it “minor”.

“Why did you run a story that police shot people yet the victims were injured by teargas canisters?” Mr Byaruhanga asked the journalist at the weekend while in the office of the District Criminal Intelligence and Investigations Department (CIID) officer.

Mr Awori had been summoned by the DPC to the office of the district CIID officer . 

Mr Byaruhanga also asked the journalist why he kept filing shooting stories about the police and URA enforcement officers.

 “You are always doing fake stories about the police and URA; you are a very bad person,” he said, while pushing Mr Awori out of the office. 

He added: “I don’t want to see you at the police station again; if you want a comment, go to Tororo and speak to the Force’s spokesperson. I can arrest you and have you charged. Are you here to attack the police station?” 

The journalist dared him (Byaruhanga) to have him arrested. 

Their exchange drew the attention of Mr Julius Emoit, the former Busia Municipality speaker, and some detectives to calm  down the tension.

Last year, Mr Awori reported a story on a shooting incident near Namutere Trading Centre, Buyanga Sub-county, which left a suspected smuggler dead at the alleged hands of a URA enforcement officer.

The same year, the reporter filed a story where police, while travelling on a pick-up truck enforcing the presidential directives on Covid-19, allegedly beat up Ms Ruth Nabwire, a nurse at Busia Health Centre IV, as she returned home from a night shift.

Following the story, officials from the nurses’ union lawyer Hassan Kamba and Workers’  MP caused the arrest of the accused police officer.

Early this year, police were again on the spot after they allegedly assaulted Mr Geoffrey Wejuli, a resident of Nangwe Village, who was being suspected of sexual assault. 

Mr Wejuli, who was reportedly beaten by law enforcement officers from Dabani Police Station, was taken to Masafu Hospital and later referred to Mbale Hospital for further medical attention. 

The woman, who worked at the victim’s restaurant in Dabani Sub-county, later disappeared following the incident. 

On October 12, stray bullets allegedly fired by URA enforcement officers in Marachi Village in Busia Municipality injured Mr Fredrick Owino, a resident, and Ms Evelyn Nabwire, a food vendor.

The shooting was apparently triggered by residents who turned rowdy and pelted URA officers with stones as they impounded bags of cement from suspected smugglers.