Kenyan based BBC reporter, Kassim Mohamed was on Wednesday night arrested and detained alongside several of his colleagues in Uganda.
Kassim is an investigative journalist and was on duty leading up to his arrest by local police.
Credible sources in Uganda revealed that the police were after Solomon Serwanjja, an investigative journalist who works for NBS TV in Uganda.
The coordinator of Human Rights Network for Journalists (HRNJ), Robert Ssempala revealed that the police opted to arrest Serwanjja’s wife, Vivian (the spokesperson for the Uganda Ministry of Health) when they realized that their target was not in the premises.
Kassim and his crew of Godfrey Badebye, Kassim Mohamed, Rasid Kaweesa and a driver named Shafiq are said to have been arrested while working as part of a BBC team in a different location.
According to Mujuni Raymond (a Ugandan journalist and TV anchor), the police were involved in a search and arrest operation when they apprehended the team.
They were allegedly targeting Serwanjja in connection with an investigative piece he was working on that touched on the abuse of power and processes in the country.
Our sources have it that the four were taken to Central Police Station in Kampala.
“Security operatives surrounded the home of Solomon Serwanjja, a journalist with NBS TV, however, he was not in the house and has since arrested his wife Vivian Nakaalika Serwanjja,” narrated Ssempala in his statement.
The Uganda Police have made their statement through Police Spokesperson, Patrick Onyango. He explained that the arrests were carried out following a tip-off that certain individuals were looking to purchase government drugs illegally.
Their intelligence led them to Serwanjja's house, where they found 14 boxes of Lumefantrine tablets, Hepatitis B vaccines and other assorted drugs labeled with government seals.
Kassim and his co-accused have since been charged with illegal possession of classified drugs contrary to section 27 (2) of the National Drugs Authority Cap 206.
The police went on to call upon Serwanjja to turn himself in and explain how he came into possession of the drugs.
Netizens, especially journalists, launched #freekassim #FreeGoddie #FreeKassim #FreeVivian #FreeSerwanja #FreeShafik and #Journalismisnotacrime in an effort to have them released.drug abuse arrest illegal
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