I was blindfolded for 4 months, says journalist Isaac Bakka

Journalist Bakka secretly charged with treason, remanded to Luzira Prison
Veteran journalist Rev Isaac Bakka is facing treason charges

Reverend Captain Isaac Bakka, a veteran journalist, ex-soldier and clergyman was blindfolded from his first day of abduction in October last year until Wednesday last week when he was taken to Kireka police station.

According to Bakka, 68, who is currently being held in Luzira Upper Prison, he was received by three police officers at Kireka police who informed him that they had received him from Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence (CMI).

He recounts that from Kireka, he was immediately driven to Nakawa Chief Magistrate’s court where he was charged with treason and misprision of treason late in the afternoon.

“At the court, the chief magistrate whom I don’t know told me that I was now in the right place and asked me to inform my people because there had been reports that I was missing,” Bakka told journalists who paid him a visit at Luzira Upper Prison on Monday.

He further revealed that the chief magistrate asked him not to comment on the charges brought against him because they can only be tried by a higher court. Bakka says that he is to be returned to the Nakawa Chief Magistrate’s court next week on February 28.

This publication has since learnt that Bakka appeared before chief magistrate Jameson Karemani. Last week, the spokesperson of Uganda Prisons Service Frank Baine confirmed that they had received Bakka on February 14 and were holding him on charges of treason and misprision of treason.

Misprision of treason is an offence, committed where someone conceals knowledge of the mission of any treason against the state. It attracts a life sentence upon conviction.

Bakka’s presence at Luzira was disclosed a day after Obongi County MP Hassan Kaps Fungaroo together with other MPs tasked government to explain the whereabouts of the journalist who was reported missing in October last year.

Bakka’s abduction

The veteran journalist attached to Bornfree Technologies Network (BTN Television), a television broadcaster based in Arua, West Nile, narrated to our reporters that he was abducted from Seeta, Mukono alongside Jinja road as he walked back to his home.

Bakka went missing about four months ago and his whereabouts remained unknown for some time. Bakka’s wife, Sylvia reported that she last saw her husband of 20 years on October 8, 2017.

“A Noah car stopped and three armed plain clothed men jumped out, grabbed, threw me inside and immediately blindfolded me and drove off to a destination I don’t know. I had never seen day light again until at Kireka police last week,” he recounted.

In a house whose location he does not know, Bakka slept on the floor since his abduction and was served porridge with no sugar as well as posho and beans with no salt. This he says was his daily morning and lunch time meals and would feed with his blindfold on.

Bakka told our journalists that in the house, he was guarded by an armed person who could not allow him touch the blindfold.

“I could ease myself in a bucket that was provided in the room and to find it, I could always crawl in search for it,” he painfully narrated.

Asked whether he was physically tortured, Bakka denied any form of torture while in the safe house and any form interrogation. He, however, revealed that he was directed by the armed men to accept that he had committed treason.

“Besides the directives to accept the treason charges, I got malaria while in the safe house and I was only given Panadol with the men telling me swallow it or leave it and die.” he recounted.

Bakka said he was now happy being at Luzira Upper Prison describing his situation as ‘safe’. He said that it’s at the prison that he has tasted sugar and salt since his abduction last year.

Bakka said he is strong and not scared since he has always supported peace and tranquility. He dismissed the treason charges saying he was not aware of any treason offence committed by him. Bakka also said that he does not know the other people with whom he is being charged with.

Judiciary spokesperson Solomon Muyita recently confirmed media reports that the veteran journalist was arrested for allegedly being involved in the procurement of arms to overthrow the government.

“On the charge sheet, they were four people charged with treason and misprision of treason. They say they were procuring arms and other materials they intended to use to over throw the government and they conducted the acts in Kampala, Jinja and outside Uganda between January 2017 and January 2018,” Muyita told NTV.

He further noted that Bakka and the others had been remanded by chief magistrate Jameson Karemani for two weeks when the case will come back for mention.