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Freelance journalist beaten to death in Uganda

Motorcycle taxi drivers beat freelance journalist Paul Kiggundu to death Saturday evening, according to New York-based press freedom group Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ). The drivers, commonly known as boda-boda, attacked Kiggundu while he was filming some of them demolishing a house in a town outside of Kalisizio, southwest Uganda.

Local journalists told CPJ that the drivers were destroying the house of another driver, Frank Kagayi, who they accused of committing murder and robbery. The drivers accused Kiggundu of working for the police, even though he had identified himself as a journalist, a bystander told the Ugandan Human Rights Journalist Network. Kiggundu died of internal bleeding before he could receive treatment at Kalisizo Government Hospital. Police are investigating the murder, although no arrests have been made, local journalists told CPJ.

"CPJ sends its deepest condolences to the family and colleagues of Paul Kiggundu," said CPJ East Africa Consultant Tom Rhodes. "We call on the Ugandan police to do their utmost to bring these perpetrators to justice. No journalist should be killed simply for carrying out their profession."

“We are deeply shocked by this barbaric behaviour that resulted in the death of a journalist who as at the scene just to cover what was going on,” Paris-based press freedom group Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) said. “His murder could have been avoided if the crowd had taken the time to identify him.”

It said, “This incident highlights the frequency to which journalists are exposed to violence because they are on the front line of demonstrations, conflicts or events that get out of control and are seen as unwanted witnesses. We urge the Ugandan authorities to deal severely with those responsible, so that such incidents do not recur.”

Kiggundu had worked for the past eight months as a contributor to the private, Christian-faith based TOP (Tower of Praise) Radio and TV. The station broadcasts 24 hours in Lugandan across the country. Kuggundu was buried Sunday, leaving behind a wife and two children, aged 3 years and 18 months.

Date posted: September 15, 2010 Last modified: May 23, 2018 Total views: 125