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61 Zombo barracks attackers charged, remanded to Kitalya prison

Suspects standing within the dock at the General Court Martial in Makindye. URN photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | 61 suspects who were arrested for attacks on the Uganda People’s Defense Forces barracks in Zombo district have been charged and remanded to Kitalya government prison.

The suspects, some of whom have been in detention since 2020, are charged with the deaths of five soldiers in an attack on March 6, 2020, and another in July 2021. They were arrested from Packwach, Zombo, and Arua district in the aftermath of the attack and arraigned before the 4th Division Court Martial in Gulu district, at different intervals on holding charges of treason.

On Tuesday, the suspects appeared before the General Court Martial at Makindye where they pleaded not guilty. The Court-Martial Chairperson Lt General Andrew Gutti remanded the suspects to Kitalya up to January 4.

In the July attack, six people and a Uganda People’s Defence Forces-UPDF soldier were killed in Zeu sub-county. The detach located in Zeu forest was attacked by unknown gunmen at around 6:00am. 20 men disguising as forest workers entered Zombo district through Zeu forest and attacked the detach.

In 2020, the same group armed with machetes, bows, and arrows raided a Uganda People’s Defense Forces [UPDF] detach in Oduk village. The attack resulted in the killing of five soldiers while nine huts were razed down and three AK47 assault rifles looted from the army detach by the attackers.

Those who were killed included Corporal Godfrey Oola, Privates Oyuthu Solomon Owete and Bosco Okol, Warrant Officer Two Patrick Ondongota, Lance Corporal Godfrey Timba.

Last month, their stay in Kitalya was contested by human rights advocates, and the Officer in Charge of Kitalya prison challenged their detention without trial.

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