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Thursday, 17 October, 2002, 11:14 GMT 12:14 UK
Ugandan paper returns to streets
Ugandan army tank
The Ugandan army was angered by The Monitor's story
Workers at Uganda's Monitor newspaper have returned to work after police lifted their six-day blockade of its offices and returned the keys.

The paper published a new edition on its website on Thursday and managers hope the paper will be back on the streets on Friday.


We are relieved to be back in our offices after working from the streets

David Ouma Balikowa, The Monitor
The paper was closed down last week after carrying an article claiming that rebels had shot down an army helicopter.

Journalist Frank Nyakairu, who wrote the story, was released on bail on Thursday, after spending six nights in police custody.

He was charged with publishing information prejudicial to national security and likely to assist the enemy in its operation and publishing false news - the same offences two senior editors, Charles Onyango Obbo and Wanyama Wangah, were charged with on Wednesday.

Mr Nyakairu was arrested last week in Gulu and transferred to Kampala on Wednesday.

'Network destroyed'

Production and multimedia editor David Ouma Balikowa told BBC News Online that it was a great relief to be back at work but it would be hard to get the paper running again.

The police returned some computers, but kept others, along with diskettes and papers, he said.

"Our network was destroyed and our IT team is carrying out an analysis of the computers."

Late on Wednesday, senior managers met government officials and were told that The Monitor would only be allowed to reopen if it carried a government statement denying the original story.

Mr Balikowa said that after considering the options, the paper decided to carry the statement in its first edition after publication.

Editor Charles Bichachi said there would be exclusives in what he said would be a double sized version coming out on Friday.

Angry army

The BBC's reporter in Kampala says the helicopter story is the latest in a number of articles about the conduct of the war against Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels in the north of the country that have angered the army.

Last May, the Ugandan army launched an offensive in co-operation with the Sudanese Government which, until recently, backed the LRA.

But this has only pushed the LRA back into Uganda, where it has increased its attacks.

The LRA has been conducting a campaign of violence in northern Uganda since 1987 to overthrow the government of President Yoweri Museveni.


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11 Oct 02 | Africa
16 Sep 02 | Africa
16 Sep 02 | Africa
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