A wife to one of the directors of Red Pepper Publications claims police even searched her knickers, allegedly looking for secrets relating to Rwanda.
“They turned my closet upside down and even searched my knickers for information,” she said, referring to the thorough search of the residences of the now detained Red Pepper staff.
On Wednesday, police charged Red Pepper directors and editors with treason, offensive communication and publication of a story that is prejudicial to the security of the country.
According to the company lawyer Denis Nyombi, the staff of Uganda’s leading tabloid are also charged annoying the person of the president’s brother General Salim Saleh and Security minister Henry Tumukunde.
They are five company directors; Richard Tusiime (CEO), Patrick Mugumya (CPO), Arinaitwe Rugyendo (CM0), James Mujuni (CCO) and Johnson Musinguzi Byarabaha (CFO) and three editors; Ben Byarabaha (Managing Editor), Richard Kintu (News Editor) and Tumusiime Francis Tinywana (Bwino Newspaper Editor who doubles as General Manager).
Nyombi said anti-terrorism squad swung into action and mounted a search both at Red Pepper offices and at the homes of the directors and editors in question.
Several laptops, desktop computers, USB cables, phones, among others were taken by police led by Kampala Metropolitan Police Commander, CP Frank Mwesigwa.
The search continued for second day ever since their arrest on Tuesday.
All staff are either detained or not allowed to access premises after confiscation of their phones. The leading tabloid is still under lock and key.
On Wednesday, the senior managers were driven out of Nalufenya detention facility to guide police in a second search of the offices and homes.
A wife to one of the directors who asked not to be named said police went overboard and rummaged her wardrobe full of panties, spread them apart, turned them inside out, and searched them thoroughly.
“The men can search, my little things and little children were also searched. My things were thrown around apparently in a search for secrets,” she said obviously disturbed.
Lawyer Nyombi says he is now pondering over the next course of action after police told him that the search could even take 10 days.
This would mean the company would remain closed and counting losses in hundreds of millions.
As soon as they finished responding to the charge and caution statements, they were thrown back into police vans and driven back to Nalufenya where they are reportedly being tortured.
They are accused of publishing a story which alleges President Yoweri Museveni is hatching a plot to overthrow Rwanda President, Paul Kagame.
According to the story which the ministry of Foreign Affairs dismissed as false, UPDF is allegedly training former president Habyarimana’s loyalists with the help of the French army based in Rwenzori region.
The story alleges that UPDF will enter Congo in the guise of hunting ADF and former M23 rebels following an alleged deal between President Museveni and Kabila from where they will enter a war with Rwanda.