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Court Martial commences trial of soldier accused of shooting civilian

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The 5th Division Uganda People’s Defense Forces-UPDF court-martial has commenced the trial of private Ronald Odera, who reportedly shot and caused the death of a civilian in Madi Opei town council, Lamwo district early this year.

The UPDF 5th Division Spokesperson Captain Amos Nsambu, says that the court-martial comprising ten people is being chaired by Col Gabriel Wamala sitting at the UPDF Bana-Bana Lamwo Battalion.

The military court-martial proceedings stem from an incident that occurred at Arogo village, Kal parish in Madi Opei town council on Valentine’s day where the soldier is alleged to have shot dead Emmanuel Kica.

According to Capt. Nsambu, prosecutors concluded investigations paving way for the trial.

The court martial proceedings have drawn mixed reactions from a section of the public who allege that the formal justice system compromises the traditional justice systems, according to the Acholi customs.

They are worried that the trial will deprive the relatives of the deceased of the desired informal justice.

According to the Acholi traditional culture, when someone is accused of murder, the clan of the perpetrator is supposed to commit making a payment in form of compensation called “Culu Kwooo” as a means of expressing remorse and reconciling the warring parties.

Details of the case

It is alleged that on the fateful day, during a night disco at Arogo village, a group of revellers comprising civilians and some soldiers developed a misunderstanding. The deceased reportedly assaulted a UPDF soldier injuring him seriously.

A team of police officers accompanied by soldiers responded to a distress call indicating that a section of civilians had ganged up against a group of unarmed soldiers and on arrival, they apprehended Kica for assaulting the soldier.

It is alleged while transferring him to Madi Opei police outpost, Kica attempted to escape from lawful custody prompting the soldier to fire live bullets and injuring him in the stomach. He was rushed to Kitgum General Hospital for treatment where he succumbed to the bullet wounds the next day.

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