Uganda: Second journalist murdered in three days

30 September 2010 at 01:37 | 963 views

Reporters Without Borders is deeply shocked and saddened to learn that Dickson Ssentongo, a news presenter on Prime Radio, a Seventh Day Adventist station in the southeastern district of Mukono, was beaten to death by unidentified assailants using metal bars as he walked to work on 13 September.

Ssentongo’s murder came just three days after radio and TV reporter Paul Kiggundu was lynched by an angry crowd in the southern town of Rakai on 10 September. More information.

Reporters Without Borders appeals for calm and respect for media personnel after the deaths of two journalists in attacks of unprecedented violence in less than a week. We also urge the Ugandan authorities to take these murders seriously and to quickly establish the motives. Investigators should not rule out the possibility that they were politically motivated or linked to the victims’ work as journalists, especially as elections are scheduled for next February and March.

Aged 29, Ssentongo was found by a farmer lying in a pool of blood a few yards from where he was attacked while on his way to present the morning news programme. He died from his injuries a few hours later in a hospital. Neither his money nor his mobile phone was taken, which clearly indicates that robbery was not the motive.

Ssentongo, who had been presenting the news on Prime Radio for the past two years, was also a member of the opposition Democratic Party, for which he had run as a candidate in a local election. A team of policemen were sent to examine the scene of the murder.

This was the third murder of a journalist in Uganda in the past two and half years. Rebecca Wilbrod Kasujja, the presenter of a morning show on community radio Buwama FM in the southern district of Mpigi, was killed in February 2008.

Photo : Dickson Ssentongo (credit : The New Vision Online)