Unidentified people raided the offices of a critical vernacular newspaper Eddoboozi, stole property worth millions of shillings and also killed the guard on Wednesday night.
The paper’s editor, Eddie Mukwaba Katende told Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda) that he arrived at the scene and “found the body of the guard lying in a pool of blood. The attackers got the keys from the administrator’s office and opened all offices. They took all computers which had stories for the issue meant to come out on November 25.”
This is the second time the offices of the bi-weekly newspaper have been raided in a space of two months according to HRNJ-Uganda.
“The first attack saw a security guard being chloroformed and injured by the assailants, but nothing was taken,” a statement from HRNJ-Uganda reads.
Police has started investigations into the matter but no arrests have been made yet.
Eddoboozi a pro-Buganda news paper was established in 2009 after government banned open space studio radio programmes (Ebimeeza) and also closed private radio stations namely; Central Broadcasting Service (88.8fm, 89.2fm) Radio Ssuubi, Radio Sapientia and Radio Two also known as ‘Akaboozi Ku Biri’.
The paper hit the streets on December 18, 2009 and has written extensively on issues of corruption, politics, human rights abuses and Buganda Kingdom issues among others.
The last raid on a newspaper was in May this year when police stormed the offices of another vernacular newspaper Ggwanga and arrested four staff including the managing editor. Since then, the paper has suspended its operations.
Also, in January, police raided offices of a monthly magazine, Summit Business Review and detained its editor for ‘embarrassing’ the president in a caricature published on the cover.
In August 2009, police stormed the premises of the The Independent and arrested three journalists after the magazine published a cartoon spoofing President Museveni while in June 2008, unknown elements burnt a printing press belonging to a popular tabloid Red Pepper.
The HRNJ-Uganda programmes coordinator Geoffrey Wokulira Ssebaggala condemned the attacks and called for quick transparent investigations.
“Police have to prove its usefulness to the citizens because no report regarding the past attacks on media houses has ever been made public including those on the Red Pepper and The Independent Magazine. With these new dimensions on the attacks on media houses, we also cannot rule out the involvement of the government because findings are concealed” Mr Ssebaggala said.