Kiwi photographer arrested in Uganda


The man who photographed the Carterton hot-air balloon tragedy has reportedly been arrested in Uganda.

Photographer Geoff Walker, whose camera captured the January 2012 disaster that killed all 11 people on board, is in the East African country doing humanitarian work with the Side by Side project.

A post on Facebook said Mr Walker was arrested for taking photos of the Rubongi Army Barracks, near Tororo in eastern Uganda.

It said he was in a Tororo police cell.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade said the New Zealand Embassy in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, was investigating,

New Zealand First deputy leader and former Carterton Mayor Ron Mark said Mr Walker was doing charitable work in Uganda and was highly respected in his community.

“I’ve known Geoff for quite a while now,” Mr Mark said tonight. “He’s respected for having a very strong social conscience. He’s a very community-minded person.”

He said Mr Walker was working with Lions clubs in Uganda and New Zealand.

“They’d arranged for a young albino boy who was sight-impaired to have an operation, which partially restored his sight.”

Mr Mark said “if the stories were true” then Mr Walker had landed in some legal trouble but everybody hoped the situation could be resolved and Mr Walker would return home safely.

“I’m working with the family, who I’ve known for a while. [It’s] fair to say that people are a bit worried.”

Hope Sexton, who said she was a relative of Mr Walker, said the family had been in contact with many agencies and were “working tirelessly to try to get in contact with people” in Uganda.

“What we ask is that you are cautious on what you post on social media as any speculation may not be helpful,” she posted on Facebook.

“Your continued thoughts and prayers are much welcomed.”


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