The fourth Infantry Division Court Martial has sentenced two Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPD) soldiers to 20-year and 15-year jail terms respectively for murder.
The convicts appeared before the Court Martial Chairperson Col. George Nambafu on Thursday and were charged with murder contrary to section 188/189 of the Penal Code Act. They were all convicted on their plea of guilty.
Col. Nambafu handed a 20-year jail sentence to Jacob Oyet Ojera a soldier attached to Lugore military Detach in Palaro Sub-county, Gulu district for shooting to death his wife on October 30, 2023.
Alex Okecha a soldier attached to the 57 Battalion at Bondo Barracks in Arua District received a 15-year jail sentence for strangling to death his girlfriend Anita Tiko on June 4, 2019.
The prosecution told the court that private Ojera on October 30, 2023, while at Awal Aboro Trading Center in Palaro Sub-county picked up a quarrel with his wife Jennifer Atoo from a bar.
The court heard that after the disagreement, Ojera went back to the barracks and picked up an SMG riffle with 120 rounds of ammunition which he used to shoot the deceased who was sleeping with her two children. Ojera reportedly fired three bullets at the deceased in front of his children.
Separately, the prosecution also told the court that on June 4, 2019, Okecha while on night duty at 57 Battalion in Bondo Barracks was approached by his girlfriend Anita Tiko at about 9 pm who requested him to accompany her home since she was drunk.
It was reported that Okecha rejected the idea because he was still on duty and couldn’t leave his guard post. The prosecution further told the Court that the convict later agreed to accompany his girlfriend but along the way, he strangled her before attempting to hide her body in a pit latrine.
The convict reportedly went into hiding but was arrested on October 26, 2023, from Wadilayi Sub-county in Pakwach district.
The prosecution requested the court for maximum sentences for the convicts arguing that their actions were inhumane, and they didn’t deserve to stay in public.
But the convict’s defense lawyers told the court that the convicts had pleaded guilty and never wasted the court’s time adding that they were first-time offenders who served the army for more than 20 years with no criminal records.
In his ruling, Col. Nambafu says the court had carefully taken note of both the mitigating and aggravated factors submitted by both the defense and prosecution before coming out with a judgment.
The convicts will serve their jail sentences at Gulu Main Prison in Gulu City.
Meanwhile, during the same court sitting, Col Nambafu sentenced 23-year-old Ivan Ajedra to caution over illegal possession of firearms and ammunition contrary to section 3(1) (2)(a) and (b) of the UPDF Firearms Act 2005.
Ajedra was arrested by the Police in March and had been in military detention at Bondo barracks since September after an unserviceable pistol without a magazine, was found among his belongings from Madi-Okolo district.