The streets of Kampala this week were home to scenes of violent repression more reminiscent of the Idi Amin era than of the 21st century. The BBC reports that the Ugandan army has, in a rare mea culpa, offered an apology for its brutal attacks on demonstrators protesting the imprisonment of Bobi Wine, as well as the journalists covering the demonstrations. The armed forces’ statement, however, was unsatisfying to many, describing gross human and civil rights abuses as merely “unprofessional.”
In footage shared online, Reuters photojournalist James Akena can be seen being beaten with a stick by two soldiers on a street in the capital, Kampala.
The beating carried on even after Mr Akena put his hands up and fell to his knees.
‘The behaviour of the police or the security personnel has never been this way, so it is difficult to tell why this time round they have taken this new trend,’ Mr Akena told BBC Focus on Africa radio.
Human Rights Watch says the beating and arresting of journalists is evidence the Ugandan authorities want to cover up the conduct of the security forces.