BBC journalists arrested in Uganda released on police bond

Friday February 8 2019

Friday February 8 2019

Three BBC journalists investigating the theft and sale of government drugs are among five people who have been detained and investigated by Ugandan police.

They are Godfrey Badebye, Kassim Mohamed, Rashid Kaweesa, and their driver Shafiq Kisame, all attached to BBC.

Godfrey Badebye, Mohamed Kissame, Rashid Kaweesa and their driver, Shafiq Kisame as well as Vivian Nakaliika, the wife to NBS news anchor Solomon Serwanjja are now held at the central police station (CPS). The police claim to have found classified drugs in his home, leading to his wife's arrest.

The suspects have been slapped with tentative charges of illegal possession of classified drugs.

Sserwanjja was not home so his wife Vivian Nakaliika, a communication officer at the health ministry, was arrested.

The police are said to have found 14 boxes of lumefantrine tablets, vaccines for Hepatitis B and other drugs labelled with government seals.

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According to Opondo, police told him the journalists were arrested because they were working on a story that was damaging to government.

The Executive Director of the Uganda media centre and government Spokesperson, Ofwono Opondo clarified on social media that the State House Health Monitoring Unit was aware of the operations Solomon Sserwanja was carrying out for his journalistic duties.

The journalists were looking into the illegal sales of government drugs and were arrested on Wednesday night. Opondo called for immediate and unconditional release of the journalists.

In a statement, the BBC said it had been in contact with the relevant authorities and is working to resolve the situation.

Uganda's decrepit healthcare system is riddled with corruption and doctors and nurses frequently complain about shortages of basic supplies like gloves, medicines and vaccines.

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