Uganda daily: Journalist abducted after reporting on deceased Finnish businessman
A Ugandan journalist has reportedly been abducted after writing about a Finnish businessman who was found dead in a hotel room in Kampala just over a week ago.
The New Vision newspaper said that journalist Charles Etukuri was snatched on Tuesday in the capital city Kampala. Etukuriâs boss Felix Osike speculated that the countryâs Internal Security Organization, ISO, was behind the reporter's disappearance because he had written an articl e suggesting that the security services were involved in the Finnâs death.
âWe are absolutely sure that the kidnapping is related to Etukuriâs article about the death of the Finnish man at a hotel,â Osike, editor-in-chief of New Visionâs weekend edition and its investigative journalism team, said in a phone interview with Yle.
Osike said that armed men in military gear bundled Etukuri away near the paperâs office on Tuesday.
âThe kidnappers are from security services. We know that they are security officials but we donât know what unit they were from. They would not have wanted the story published. Publishing it did not serve their interests,â Osike added.
Minister denies kidnapping reports
The weekend editor said that he was very concerned about the reporterâs situation. He noted that Etukuri was being detained in Kampala, but said that the paper did not know his precise location.
âWe donât know if he has been assaulted . We donât know how he is being treated. We donât know if he is being tortured.â
Yle contacted Ugandan National Security Minister Henry Tumukunde, who admitted that Etukuri was no longer free but denied that he had been kidnapped.
âI donât know the difference between abduction and other ... but he is Ugandan and he has not been abducted,â the minister told Yle by phone.
The Finnish businessman died in cloudy circumstances at Kampalaâs Pearl of Africa hotel on 6 February. The Finnish Foreign Ministry confirmed the manâs death to Yle earlier this week.
Consultant fronted for Patria
Initial reports indicated that he was an external consultant visiting Uganda to promote products for the majority state-owned Finnish defence contractor Patria. On Tuesday, Patria confirmed that the man had been retained to represent the company. On Wednesday, Finnish Economic Affairs Minister Mika LintilÃ¤ called on the defence firm to submit a report on the case.
The man was said to have had a forged letter of representation but Ugandan officials did not know who provided the letter. He was also said to have met with members of the ISO to market Patria defence technology.
Local police initially attributed the manâs death to natural causes but said they had not ruled out foul play. Police said they were awaiting the results of a toxicology report from coroners.
According to Etukuriâs account, some officers from the internal security forces were involved in the death. There was also speculation that the man was the victim of a scam.
New Vision said it had seen a letter sent by the man in January, in which he requested a visit and the opportunity to meet decision makers. The letter also claimed that the man had his own firm, which represented several other companies in the cyber security, security training and surveillance equipment sectors.
Former National Coalition Party Communications Minister Suvi Li ndÃ©n had been on the same trip with the deceased. She was initially detained by police as part of the investigation into the manâs death, but was later released.Latest in: News Uganda daily: Journalist abducted after reporting on deceased Finnish businessman Christmas sales fashion a successful year for Marimekko THL: Flu season hitting peak levels in Finland PÃ¤rmÃ¤koski snatches bronze in ski thriller Thursday's papers: Drug policy, name boards and Olympic hockey Gaming giant Supercellâs sales dip as it seeks a new hit Cleaners may down tools on March 1 Minister demands explanation from state-owned arms firm over Uganda death Finnish expert warns: Studies linking certain foods with cancer are still in early days Finnish economy spurts by nearly 4% Headlines News Uganda daily: Journalist abducted after reporting on deceased Finnish businessman
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