BusinessCrime & Investigation

The Observer Raid Raises Fear of Unresolved Crime Pattern

Police have commenced investigations into the break-in at The Observer newspaper in Kampala.

The paper’s management on Sunday night announced that unknown people had raided their offices before walking away with precious logistics.

“On the night of October 15, about it The Observer offices on Tagore Crescent, Kamwokya, were broken into and at least 15 desktop computers, several laptops and other assorted items were stolen,” said The Observer in a press statement.

It said the cost of the theft and vandalism was still being assessed.

“Our offices are protected by a private security firm whose staff on the night, Charles Olupot, was not found at his station on the morning of October 16, with his gun abandoned in the compound,”  the statement added.

It remains unclear if there was possible connivance between the guard and the thugs that stormed the offices.

Founded in 2004, The Observer newspaper’s niche has always been politics.



The incident comes high on the heels of increased cases of burglary and theft at private organisations.

At least 31 Ugandan and international human rights groups recently said in a letter to the IGP Gen Kale Kayihura to “promptly, thoroughly, and transparently investigate a series of attacks on Ugandan non-governmental organizations and human rights defenders and hold suspects accountable.”

The severity of one of the recent attacks, in which intruders beat a security guard to death, demonstrates the urgency of addressing these attacks.

Between April and May 2016, intruders broke into the offices of at least three groups in Kampala – the Forum for African Women Educationalists (FAWE), the Human Rights Awareness and Promotion Forum (HRAPF), and the Human Rights Network for Journalists-Uganda (HRNJ-Uganda).

The break-ins followed more than two dozen previous break-ins at the offices of non-governmental groups since 2012.

Although the police inspector general formed a committee of eight officers to investigate the break-ins in July 2014, no one has yet been brought to justice.

The Observer said a police team from Kira Road police station is working with the newspaper management and officials from the private security firm to “trace the person(s) responsible for this act and/or establish their motive.”

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