The Ugandan army says it will take punitive action against officers filmed assaulting journalists on Monday during protests calling for the release of detained lawmakers.
The army said it did not sanction such actions and issue apologies and sympathies with the affected individuals.
An army statement of August 21 and signed by the Defence spokesperson, Richard Karemire, read in part: “Attention has been brought to the leadership of the UPDF about unprofessional conduct of soldiers who molested some journalists while deployed on a Joint Operation in the capital on Monday 20th August 2018.
“UPDF wishes to express its displeasure over such behaviour by those individuals, and, as a result, the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF) has ordered for their arrest and punishment.”
It stressed that the government remained committed to maintain a strong partnership with the media in the course of their respective roles as laid out in the constitution.
The atmosphere in Uganda has been tense since last week after the president’s convoy was attacked by opposition members days to a by-election in the Arua municipality.
A popular musician turned lawmaker Bobi Wine was subsequently arrested along with others. Bobi Wine’s driver had been shot during the clashes reportedly with the presidential guard.
He is currently being held by the army who have charged him before the military court for treason. Human rights groups and civil society continue to heap pressure on the authorities to prosecute officials said to have tortured the detained MPs.
Campaigns demanding the release of Bobi Wine have seen protesters clash with security forces in some cases leading to fatalities. The #FreeBobiWine campaign has gone beyond Uganda as people post solidarity messages from Kenya and Twitter.
President Museveni has insisted that government was not going to allow political thuggery to take root in the country. He said in a statement last Sunday that Bobi Wine had not been tortured and that he did not have injuries or fractures as widely reported in the media.