Uganda: Reporter killed, motive still unclear

18 June 2013 at 04:57 | 14126 views

Reporters Without Borders is shocked by the murder of Thomas Pere (photo), a reporter for the state-owned New Vision media group in the Ugandan capital of Kampala. His body was found early this Monday June 17 in an open field a few miles outside the city.

“It is clear from the injuries to Pere’s body and the way it was found that his death was not accidental, and that in fact he was murdered,” Reporters Without Borders said. “The motive, and whether it was linked to his work, is not yet clear but so far everything suggests that it was not a robbery.

“We welcome the fact that the police lost no time in starting an investigation. We urge them to shed all possible light on the circumstances of Pere’s death in order to identify and arrest the perpetrators and instigators.”

Pere was last seen in the New Vision newsroom at around 8 p.m. yesterday evening before he left to go home. The police found his body at 6 a.m. today in an open field in Massajja, beside the highway from Kampala to Entebbe, the town where he lived.

The police said they did not think he was killed at the place where the body was found. None of his personal effects had been taken. His mobile phone, wallet and two credit cards were all found in his pockets, suggesting that robbery must be ruled out as a motive.

Kampala police spokesman Ibin Ssenkumbi said he appeared to have been killed by a blow to the head with blunt object.

Pere covered society stories for the entertainment and supplements sections and was an active member of the Uganda Tourism Press Association.

He was the fifth journalist to be killed in Uganda in the past three years. A documentary filmmaker was killed in May 2012, a Rwandan journalist was murdered in Kampala on 30 November 2011, and two journalists were killed in the space of three days in September 2010.