Three journalists attached to the British Broadcasting Cooperation (BBC) and Vivian Nakaliika, the wife of NBS TV news anchor, Solomon Serwanjja are in police custody. The journalists are Godfrey Badyebe, Kasim Mohamad and Rashid Kaweesa together with their driver Shafiq.
Security operatives say they are still searching for Serwanjja. Robert Ssempala, the chairman of the Human Rights Network for Journalists (HRNJ) broke the news of the arrest of the journalists.
"Last night security operatives surrounded the home of Solomon Serwanjja, a journalist with NBS TV. However he was not in the house and has since arrested his wife Vivian Nakaliika Serwanjja," Ssempala said.
Adding that, "It has also arrested two other journalists working with BBC. They are being detained at the CPS in Kampala. The police commander for Kampala Metropolitan Area, Moses Kafeero has told HRNJ-UGANDA that it's a long story."
Information obtained by URN shows that the three journalists were picked up from different areas in Kampala last night by operatives from the Internal Security Organisation (ISO).
According to security sources, the four are accused of working with wrong elements from foreign entities. They are said to have bought drugs worth Shs 5 million from government health facilities and were scheduled to buy even more from Kiruddu hospital later. The journalists were reportedly working on a story about theft of government drugs that are later sold to South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo. Unconfirmed reports indicate that the investigation was sanctioned by State House Health Monitoring Unit.
Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Patrick Onyango said the suspects were arrested after a tipoff that they were in possession of government drugs. He said 14 boxes of Lumefantine tablets, vaccines for Hepatitis B and other drugs labelled with government seals were found in Serwanjja's home in Mukono.
Nakaliika is the communication officer in charge of health promotion and behavioural change in ministry of Health. Onyango said they waited for Serwanjja to come home in vain and that if the journalists had informed police about their investigations earlier, police would have offered them protection instead.
Onyango maintained that Serwanjja is still a wanted suspect because, traditionally, a home belongs to the husband and so it's Serwanjja explain to police how the drugs ended up at his home. The four suspects are held in the office of Joshua Tusingwire, the officer-in-charge of Criminal Investigations Central Police station (CPS) Kampala together with their lawyer, Medard Sseggona.