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Sports journalist Johnson Were assaulted at Rugby event

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Johnson Were (on the floor) was physically assaulted by Gabriel Aredo on Sunday. Courtesy Photo

A video footage has continued making rounds on social media platforms where Gabriel Aredo who plays for Warriors Rugby Club physically assaulted Johnson Were who is a sports photo journalist working with New Vision.

Were was on duty covering the Kyabazinga 7s (sixth circuit of the Nile Special 7s series) and this particular incident happened during the semifinal between Kobs and Heathens played on Sunday at Bugembe Stadium in Jinja.

The Chairman of the Organizing Committee Erasmus Aredo confronted former national team player Alex Mubiru for being too close to the touchline and a fight ensued which nearly caused damage to the vehicle of the Busoga Kingdom Prime Minister.

In the process Gabriel joined his brother Erasmus in the fight and on realizing that Were was taking photos of the ugly incident, he charged at him with the intention of grabbing his camera, hence the physical assault which left the camera lens seriously damaged.

Were was on official duty covering the tournament for Vision Group, and sports journalists are mandated to cover on-field and off-field happenings at any sports event.

This matter has prompted Uganda Sports Press Association (USPA) to urge its members to stay away from rugby events for their own safety. It should be noted that Were is the General Secretary of USPA.

“We strongly condemn this attack on our colleague and senior executive member and we call upon Uganda Rugby Union to bring the culprit to book and hold everyone involved accountable. In the meantime we advise our members to stay away from rugby games until this matter is resolved to its logical conclusion. This is for their safety and it takes immediate effect,” a USPA missive signed by its President Patrick Kanyomozi read.

The matter is also before Police now and as an association, USPA pledges to support Were and stand by him in his pursuit of justice.

“We will also take up the matter with tournament sponsors Nile Special who also happen to be our main sponsors. Journalism is not a crime and no journalist should be attacked for simply doing their job.” USPA’s missive added.

*Credit: USPA press release

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