Shock: Five Americans Arrested for Spying on Speaker Among's School in Bukedea.

Information on our news desk indicated that five Americans were arrested and detained in Bukedea districts for taking photos of Bukedea comprehensive  secondary school without permission.

It should be noted that this school belongs to the speaker of of the Parliament of Uganda, Rt Hon. Anitah Among, who is also the area Woman Member of Parliament.

The tourists, who run NGOs supporting students in the school, were traveling to Murchison Falls National Park for a holiday. Their vehicle was flagged down by a traffic officer, who had received calls to intercept them.

They were then taken back to Bukedea, where they spent over two hours being interrogated by various officials. Despite claiming they had not trespassed or taken pictures, they were detained until their passports and identity cards were photographed.

They were eventually released, with authorities citing security concerns.The tourists’ NGOs, Arlington Academy of Hope Uganda and Reach for Uganda, support students in Bukedea Comprehensive School and other schools in the country. The incident has raised questions about the treatment of tourists and the role of security personnel in Uganda.

“The watchman came from inside the gate with a stick, barking at us. I told him, ‘this is one of the sponsors’, he said, ‘no, no, no, no, don’t take pictures.’ We had not even stopped and no one had left the vehicle,” A source disclosed.

The group resumed their journey after the confrontation but was later stopped by ASP Joseph Okia at Kapir, Ngora District, about 15km from Soroti. Okia claimed he had received calls to intercept the vehicle.

The group spent over an hour as the officers made and received multiple phone calls, including with Bukedea District Police Commander Richard Asiimwe. They were then asked to drive back to Bukedea, approximately 50km away, where they spent over two hours being interrogated by various officials.

The president of the NGO explained that they didn’t even stop at the school, and asked if they were under arrest. The DPC said no but continued questioning them about trespassing. The president mentioned their relationship with the Speaker and sponsorship of students at the school.

They requested the school secretary be called, but instead, the authorities called a director who confirmed their identity. After multiple phone calls, the authorities released them after photographing their passports and identity cards.

The group expressed frustration, feeling they had done nothing wrong. They had been supporting two primary schools and constructing a secondary school, and had just started their holiday. They were supposed to reach Murchison Falls National Park by 4-5 pm but arrived at 8 pm due to the detention.

Efforts to reach the DPC of Bukedea were futile by press time. The police spokesperson, Rusoke Kituuma, said he was not aware of the developments. The school administrator, Samuel Odong, denied knowledge of the incident.

The Speaker’s spokesperson, Joseph Sabiti, could not be reached for comment.However, Chris Obore, the director of Communications and Public Affairs at Parliament, confirmed the incident. He stated that the tourists’ behavior raised security concerns, but they were let go since the school photos are already public.

“Ten of them were driving towards Soroti but on reaching around the school, they slowed down trying to take pictures of the school. School security advanced to them to find out what was the issue, they pretended to park their car on the side, then sped-off. It raised suspicion and police pursued them.” Obore Said.

“They were intercepted and brought to Bukedea Police Station where they were interviewed. They could not explain why sponsors would not enter the school like anyone else. They were let go because the photos of the school are already public anyway, so them taking photos was not a big deal. But their behaviour raised security concerns,” he said.

Although the motive of taking the photos remains best known to the tourists.

Bukedea comprehensive is one of the leading schools academically in Teso region and highly guarded by special officials.

It should also be noted that recently, the president of Uganda, Yoweri Kaguta Miseven was in Bukedea earlier this year to commission this school 

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