Ugandan journalist detained

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Ugandan police arrested a prominent journalist and news anchor of one of the country’s biggest TV stations for alleged subversive activities.

Samson Kasumba is being investigated along with other co-conspirators, police said.

Independent media journalists in the East African country are often targeted by the government of President Yoweri Museveni and jailed or interrogated over their work.

Museveni, in power since 1986, has little tolerance for criticism, opposition and rights activists say, adding accusations of crimes against the state are used to intimidate or silence media and political opponents.

Kasumba, a news anchor and reporter at NBS Television, was arrested on Monday when he left the station, police spokesman Fred Enanga said.

“He was picked up heading back home,” Enanga told a news conference.

Enanga said detectives interrogated Kasumba and would search various locations for potential evidence. He denied the arrest was connected to Kasumba’s work as a journalist.

With Museveni widely expected to stand in presidential elections next year, security forces are clamping down on supporters of the opposition, including musician-turned-lawmaker Bobi Wine, seen as Museveni’s main challenger.

A growing number of authors and online critics of Museveni have also been targeted, often charged with offences rights activists and lawyers say are disguised punishment for censure of government.

A man who wrote a fictional book called “The Greedy Barbarian”, seen as critical of government, was brought to court on Monday and charged.

Kakwenza Rukirabashaija is accused of Facebook posts encouraging people to disobey government’s anti-coronavirus measures, risking spread of the infection.

He was in military detention for a week without access to lawyers or relatives and was charged after attorneys got a judge to order him brought to court.