Four journslists who were arrested alongside members of the National Unity Platform (NUP) presidential candidate, Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu’s campaign team have been released after more than three hours in detention.
More than 100 NUP supporters were arrested at Kigerekyanvubu forest in Mugoye sub county where a combined force of the police and the military erected a roadblock.
The journalists include; BBS TV’ s Calton Scovia Nakamya, CBS’s Emanduso reporter Silver Ssemugenyi and Daily Monitor’s Dennis Mubiru and Derrick Wandera. They were released without any formal charges.
After her release Nakamya tweeted that “the crime I was accused of is giving updates.”
The journalists were arrested and detained at Kalangala Central Police Station for close to two hours and only released after Kyagulanyi was airlifted from Kalangala in a military chopper.
Some of the journalists have also decried mistreatment on the campaign trail by security officers in Kalangala. They include Hussein Dungu, a journalist at Radio Ssese, who claims to have beaten by two military police officers at the station’s main gate.
He sustained injuries on his left arm and is currently receiving medical treatment.
On Sunday, some journalists were shot at while covering Kyagulanyi’s visit in Masaka resulting from wide condemnation of the brutality by security forces against journalists.
Several NUP supporters as well as members of Kyagulanyi’s campaign team are still in custody at Kalangala police station.
According to a police statement, Kyagulanyi’s campaign meetings in Kalangala district were blocked because he flouted measures to combat the spread of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).
Kyagulanyi was expected to campaign today in Kyamuswa County areas including Kachanga- Kacungwa in Mazinga Sub County, Kisaba, Namisoke and Misonzi and Kalangala Town Council at Kaala Play ground.
He was however blocked in Mugoye sub county, which is 20 kms away from the play ground and has since been ejected from Kalangala.
However, the police statement says Kyagulanyi was restrained, not arrested, “for continuously holding massive rallies amidst the increased threats of the Coronavirus in total disregard of the Electoral commission and Ministry of health guidelines.”
The police further explains that Kyagulanyi’s advance team have been arrested because they were “captured on CCTV cameras deflating tyres of police motor vehicles, inciting violence, obstructing police officers on duty, violating the health and safety protocols and various traffic offences.”
Meanwhile, security officers have been in running battles with protestors in Kalangala Town Council.
NUP supporters staged protests in Kalangala Town council prompting the security officers to fire live bullets and teargas canisters to disperse the protestors who engaged the armed forces in running battles that lasted for almost two hours.