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Uganda Charges 8 Journalists With Treason

FILE - A Ugandan reads a copy of the Red Pepper tabloid newspaper in Kampala, Feb. 25, 2014.

Ugandan authorities have arrested eight senior staff members of the Red Pepper national newspaper and charged them with treason.

Police raided the Kampala offices of the privately owned English-language newspaper late Tuesday and detained the journalists, whom they accused of publishing a false story the previous day.

The story, citing unnamed sources, said Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni was planning to overthrow Rwandan President Paul Kagame.

Besides treason, the journalists were charged with "offensive communication and publication of information prejudicial to national security," police spokesman Emilian Kayima told Reuters.

Kayima couldn't say when the journalists would appear in court.

The U.S. media watchdog group Committee to Protect Journalists has called on Uganda to immediately release the eight.

"Uganda is trying to intimidate Red Pepper journalists and staff into silence with arrests and raids," Angela Quintal, CPJ Africa program coordinator, said from New York. "Reporting on politics is not a crime. Journalists in Uganda must be able to report without fear of retaliation."

Local media, including Red Pepper, have reported this month on tensions between Uganda and neighboring Rwanda over a range of economic and security disputes. Uganda's Foreign Affairs Ministry has dismissed the reports as rumors and insisted relations between the two countries are untroubled.