Second Ugandan journalist killed in a week

September 16, 2010 12:00 am

, KAMPALA, Sep 16 – A radio journalist was beaten to death with iron bars in Uganda, the second journalist to be killed in three days in the east African country, police said Thursday.

Dickson Ssentongo, a news anchor with the Seventh Day Adventist station Prime Radio, was killed by unidentified attackers in the district of Mukono, west of the capital Kampala, as he was heading to work on Wednesday.

"We are still investigating the incident. I think the thugs had trailed him and knew his movements," local police chief Alphonse Musoni told AFP.

The 29-year-old was also involved in local politics and was contesting upcoming local council polls on an opposition Democratic Party ticket.

The party\’s spokesman, Kenneth Kakande, suggested the murder might have been politically motivated.

"This cannot be a coincidence. Someone must have had a hand," he told AFP.

In recent years, gangs knows "katayimbwa" (\’iron bar hit-men\’) that first emerged in the town of Jinja in the early 80\’s have resurfaced in Kampala and on its outskirts, killing dozens of people.

On Saturday, Paul Kiggundu, a correspondent for private FM station Top Radio, was lynched by a mob of motorcycle taxi drivers — known as boda-bodas — in the southern town of Rakai, police said.

He was recording the demolition of of the home of a resident the drivers accused of killing one of their colleagues.

There was no evidence that the two murders were linked, but while journalists in Uganda have faced threats in recent years, deaths are rare.

"Authorities must do their utmost to ensure the perpetrators are brought to justice, especially at this politically sensitive time in the lead-up to national elections," the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists said in a statement.

Presidential and parliamentary elections are due to take place in February and March 2011.



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