Italian journalist arrested covering oil news in Buliisa

Mr Maxwell Atuhurra, (R) the Field Officer of the Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO) during one of the community engagements in Buliisa District.

A journalist believed to be Italian has been arrested along with a local human rights activist for yet to be known reasons in Buliisa District.

Ms Federica Marsi, as identified by the Africa Institute for Energy Governance (AFIEGO), was arrested yesterday (Tuesday) together with Mr Maxwell Atuhura, the AFIEGO field officer.

Mr Dickens Kamugisha, the Executive Director for AFIEGO has told Kazi-njema News that the duo was arrested by police in Buliisa town shortly after returning from the field where the foreign journalist had interacted with the Tilenga oil Project Affected Persons (PAPs) in quest for public information.

He says the Italian journalist was shortly later freed and ordered to immediately return to Kampala but Mr Atuhura had to spend his night in cells at Buliisa Central Police Station.

The Albertine region police spokesperson, Julius Allan Hakiza, could not divulge much as he said details about the arrest were still scanty in his office adding that the police did not have the duo in their custody.

However, Mr Kamugisha insists their staff is in the hands of the police and their efforts to have him released since yesterday have been frustrated as local police by this afternoon chose to transfer him to Hoima city which hosts the regional police headquarters.

AFIEGO and its partner organisations are demanding the release or charging of Mr Atuhura who remains in cells without any charges preferred against him for nearly two days.

Mr Benon Tusingwire, the Executive Director for Navigators of Development Association (NAVODA) says he had by this evening been given an opportunity to speak to the detained staff in Hoima Central Police custody.

“They have detained him at Hoima Central Police (CPS). No charge against him as per 6:20pm. I have even taken food to him”, said Mr Tusingwire.

Their lawyer was working to have Mr Atuhurra released on police bond.

AFIEGO and some other Civil Society Oragnisations have been accusing the government of Uganda of ignoring the community concerns related to disrespect of land rights as they move to develop the Tilenga oil project in Buliisa district.

The government counter-accuses AFIEGO and its associates of being biased and making false accusations about the Tilenga project.


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