HRNJ-Uganda alert, Human Rights activist mobbed up, assaulted in the presence of police

Fort-Portal, 29thJanuary 2015;Gerald Kankya, an activist working with the Twerwaneho Listeners Club (TLC), a community based governance organization in Fort-Portal, Western Uganda, was allegedly attacked, assaulted and battered by about 30 club wielding men along Lugard Road in Fort Portal town on the afternoon of 23rd January 2015.

Kankya, a European Union Human Rights activist Award winner for 2011, told HRNJ-Uganda that as he returned from a lunch break with two other friends, a gang of men, clad in‘Queen Mother Best Kemigisa Nursery, Primary and Vocational Schools traffic reflector jackets, accosted them in the presence and on orders of the Fort Portal District Police commander Kahebwa Geoffrey and another police officer identified as Rwatooro.

We tried to run towards Voice of Tooro radio station thinking that the presence of many people would prevent the men from attacking us. Before we could move inside the radio station, the gang of men grabbed me, hit me with their clubs, some boxed me, repeatedly kicked me, and attempted to grab a file I had in my hand which contained a number of TLC documents. During the scuffle, all my colleagues were too scared and ran away leaving me on the ground swarmed by the gang of men. The people around responded by attempting to attack the men who had hit me several times.

Kankya told HRNJ-Uganda that he sustained bruises and a loose tooth. He reported the matter to the police at Fort Portal under case reference number 38/23/01/2015I. He was then given a police medical form to take to a government regional hospital for examination and medication. On returning the form to police, the officers refused to record his statement claiming they were under strict orders from the DPC not to record a statement from him or anyone from TLC on charges related to assault.

When HRNJ-Uganda contacted the DPC Kahebwa, he denied being involved, “Did Kankya say that I beat him up? If he was beaten by police officers, I am responsible, but if he was beaten by his fellow thugs and fools like him, then I am not accountable. In fact he is the one who beat up people because we have assault complaints against him”.

HRNJ-Uganda condemns any form of violence against individuals. The police force is mandated by law to keep law and order, to protect persons and their property. It is unfortunate that the DPC feels no sense of accountability or responsibility in this matter. We call upon the police leadership to ensure that Kankya’ statement is recorded and full scale investigations commissioned into this matter.

For More Information Contact;
Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda)

Plot 18, Block 12 Stensera Road Kayanja Triangle Zone
P.O.BOX. 71314 Clock Tower Kampala. Tel:
+256-414-272934 / +256-414-667627
E-mail:
info@hrnjuganda.org / hrnjuganda@gmail.com

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About Human Rights Network For Journalists-Uganda

HRNJ-Uganda was established in 2005 by a group of human rights-minded journalists who developed a sense of activism amidst a deteriorating context due to glaring abuses targeting the media. The network gained formal registration as an independent non-profit and non-partisan media organisation in 2006. The identity of HRNJ-Uganda lies with its diverse membership across the board including the print and electronic media, freelance investigative journalists and individuals from other professions.
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