Thursday, May 23, 2013

Ugandan police arrest sellers of shut newspaper

Police siege Monitor Publication Ltd office on Eighth Street Namuwongo, Kampala, Uganda, on May 20, 2013. PHOTO/FILE

Police siege Monitor Publication Ltd office on Eighth Street Namuwongo, Kampala, Uganda, on May 20, 2013. PHOTO/FILE 

By AFP

KAMPALA

Ugandan police arrested Wednesday sellers of one of two newspapers they shut down earlier this week, but which had managed to still publish black market copies.

Police continued for a third day to search the offices of The Daily Monitor and Red Pepper -- which they had shut down on Monday -- after the papers reported a falling out among army generals over whether the president's son is to succeed him.

Two radio stations in the Monitor's offices also remained off air.

However, the Red Pepper printed what it called a "bush" version of the newspaper, with police arresting vendors selling it.

"We have taken in some vendors for questioning because what they were doing was illegal," police spokesman Ibn Senkumbi said, although he could not confirm how many had been arrested.

But the Red Pepper said it would continue to print.

"We are determined to ensure that we fulfil our promise to keep Ugandans informed with the truth," the daily newspaper said in a statement.

The closure of the two papers leaves only one major operating newspaper, the government-owned New Vision.

The raids come after the newspapers printed a leaked confidential memo by a senior general, David Sejusa Tinyefuza, alleging that President Yoweri Museveni was grooming his son Muhoozi Kainerugaba to succeed him and plotting to assassinate those opposed to the plan.

Several other generals have condemned Tinyefuza's memo.

Police searched the stall of newspaper vendor Mariza Musoke, finding no copies of the paper, but arrested three of her colleagues.

"Police had bundles of newspapers they had confiscated," she said.

The US-based Committee to Protect Journalists and France-based Reporters Without Borders have both criticised the closure of the newspapers.

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