LAMWO: The Uganda Peoples Defense Forces (UPDF) 5th Division infantry court martial has sentenced one of their own to a thirty-year jail term for killing a civilian in Madi Opei Town Council in Lamwo district early this year.
The accused, identified as Private Ronald Odera, who was attached to the UPDF Lamwo Banabana battalion, was convicted by a military court-martial session held before the public at Madi Opei Town Council today.
The court-martial presided over by Col. Gabriel Wamala heard that on the 14th of February 2022, the accused UPDF soldier shot a civilian identified as Emmanuel Kica, a resident of Arogo Village, Kal Parish in Madi Opei Town Council.
The court heard that the deceased was arrested by a joint security force consisting of the police and the army after he was accused of having assaulted a UPDF soldier during a scuffle at a night disco on Valentine’s Day. It’s reported that while being transferred to the police outpost at Madi Opei town council, the deceased attempted to escape from custody and, as he fled, Private Odera shot him in the stomach.
The deceased was rushed to Kitgum General Hospital where he succumbed to the bullet wound on February 15th, 2022.
At the sentencing hearing, the accused remorsefully pleaded guilty and asked for a lenient sentence on the grounds that he didn’t act intentionally and that he was having medical complications.
However, his pleas were not taken into account by the court, which sentenced Private Odera to 30 years in prison.
Although Private Odera didn’t waste the court’s time, the convicted soldier would serve the specified jail term as a deterrent to other men and women in uniform from shooting civilians.
The UPDF 5th Division infantry spokesperson, Capt. Amos Nsamba, says the accused will soon be handed over to a government prison where he will serve his jail term.
Capt. Nsamba says the UPDF infantry had to hold the court-martial in the area where the accused did the crime as a way to keep the civilian population’s faith in the army.
Nsambu says they deeply regret the incident and, as an institution, the UPDF will never condone the tendencies of indiscipline of its soldiers or inhuman treatment of the civilian population they are supposed to protect and serve.