New Zealand Photographer Arrested in Uganda

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A New Zealand photographer, famous for his graphic pictures of a hot air balloon crash in his home country, has been arrested in Uganda.

Geoff Walker made a name for himself in 2012 for a series of pictures that documented the tragic balloon incident in Carterton, New Zealand. And now social media posts have revealed the photographer has been arrested in Uganda.

 

Pictures of army barracks

The reason for his arrest hasn’t been officially announced yet, but it’s believed he was detained after taking pictures of Rubongi Army Barracks in Tororo, Uganda. The East African nation has a reputation for heavily censoring the press, with one of the highest rates of detaining journalists on the continent.

The country’s counter-terrorism laws mean any journalist – including photographers and bloggers – can be detained if they are deemed to pose a national threat. It’s not yet clear which particular threat Mr Walker has been accused of posing, but his family and friends have expressed their concern for his safety.

 

Verifying reports

The first concern of Mr Walker’s family is verifying reports of his arrest and finding out where he is. The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) are alreaduy involved in the process.

“Right now the focus is on letting MFAT do their job – finding where Geoff is, making contact to ensure he is safe, and then seeing what is needed to secure his release,” one of his friends told the New Zealand press.

Family members have said they’re finding it difficult to get in contact with the relevant authorities in the East African nation, while the New Zealand embassy in Uganda is following up reports of his arrest.

 

Featured image:
By US Army Africa – originally posted to Flickr as Uganda railways assessment 2010, CC BY 2.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=12026727