How security operatives arrested and detained a group of journalists who were conducting an investigative story about the sale of government drugs by government officials.
Security raid at one journalist Solomon Sserwanja’s home on Wednesday night with the aim of arresting him but he was not at home.
Police did not estate going back to Sserwanja’s home and arrested his wife Vivian Nakaliika Sserwanja and detained her from Kampala Central police station.
Police continued and arrested other three BBC journalists including Khasim Muhammad, Rashid, Kaweesa and Godfrey Badebye who were also taken to CPS.
The Human Rights Network for Journalists (HRNJ) director Robert Sempala has confirmed the arrest of all these journalists and said that when he contacted the Kampala metro9politan police commander Moses Kafeero also confirmed that it is police detaining them all though their matter is sensitive.
Sources say that the arrest followed the investigative story these journalists were doing concerning the sale of government drugs by its officials.
It has also been established that on a fateful night, the journalists had gone to approach one of the sellers of the drugs suspected to be an agent to some government official before police swung into action to arrest the members of the fourth estate.
The drugs bought were to be used as confirmation and evidence that some government officials are involved in the sale of government drugs which is illegal.
Patrick Onyango the spokesperson of Kampala Metropolitan told journalists that Sserwanja is wanted in connection with possession of classified drugs of Lamefantine tablets, vaccines for Hepatitis B and other drugs labeled with government seals at his own home.
Asked whether security knew that the journalists were carrying out an investigation into the sale of government drugs by bigwigs in government, the police mouthpiece said their investigations will put them in the know of what was taking place.
Journalists put Onyango to task to explain whether the person who was selling drugs to journalists was arrested and his identity but the police mouthpiece said it was a security matter that he could not divulge more details.
“We are doing our job. Government has many contacts and you never know they landed onto one.”
He said the journalists will be charged with illegal possession of classified drugs contrary to section 27(2) of the National Drug Act 2006.
Journalist body, the Human Rights Network for Journalists (HRNJ) condemned the police action saying it was uncalled for but rather meant to intimidate journalists.
“The reasons they are giving for the arrest are weak. Journalists can’t alert them (police) for fear of divulging information,” HRNJ national coordinator Robert Ssempala said.
He revealed there is a well-calculated move by government officials to intimidate journalists but noted they will not be derailed on their goal of exposing the rot caused by some government officials.
“We think this arrest is one of the moves to threaten journalists,” Ssempala said.
Sempala said that they have put a group of lawyers lead by Hon Medard Lubega Sseggona who will see through these journalists
President Museveni has always warned against government officials involved in corruption tendencies including sale of drugs from government hospitals.