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Court Martial remands 32 suspects over petrol bombs

The accused in the dock. URN photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Thirty-two people have appeared before the Makindye based Uganda People’s Defense Forces-General Court Martial on charges of unlawful possession of ammunition.

The suspects are Yasin Ssekitoleko alias Machete, Robert Christopher Rugumayo, Ronald Mayiga, Muhydin Kakooza, Patrick Mwase, Simon Kijambo, Abdu Matovu, Richard Nyombi, Olivia Lutaaya, Ronald Kijambo, Sharif Kalanzi, Joseph Muwonge, Mesach Kiwanuka, Abdalla Kintu, Umar Emma Kato and Musa Kavuma.

Others are Ibrahim Wandera, Asbert Nagwere, Steven Musakulu, Jimmy Galukande, Paul Muwanguzi, Kenneth Kamanya, Sharif Matovu, Shafiq Ngobi, Davis Mafabi, Abdallah Hakim Gibusiwa, Livingstone Katushabe Kigozi, Swaibu Katabi, Obalai Siraji Mudebo, Joseph Muganza and Stanley Lwanga.

The accused persons include hawkers, tailors, electricians, cinema hall attendants and boda boda riders and residents of Mbale, Mukono, Kampala and Wakiso districts. The suspects were before the seven-member panel of the General Court Martial chaired by Lt General Andrew Gutti on Tuesday afternoon who charged them with illegal possession of ammunition.

Court heard that the accused persons together with others still at large between November 2020 and May 12, 2021, were in possession of 13 pieces of explosive devices which are ordinarily the monopoly of the defense forces. The prosecution told the court that the accused committed the crimes in areas of Jinja, Mbale, Kireka, Nakulabye, Kawempe, Natete and Kampala Central.

The accused persons who were driven to court in a white minibus commonly referred to as a drone pleaded not guilty to the charges. The accused did not have any lawyers. They accepted representation by the Court Martial defence lawyer Major Kamanda Silas Mutungi only if lawyers of their choice such as Anthony Wameli, Medard Sseggona, Shamim Malende and Benjamin Katana join him.

Shortly after pleading to the charges, the prosecution led by Major Samuel Masereje informed the court that investigations into the matter were still ongoing and requested more time which was granted. As a result, the Court Martial chairperson remanded the accused to Kitalya government prison until June 22, 2021, when they will return for the mention of their charges.

The only woman on the list, Olivia Lutaaya went to Kigo prison until then. Trouble for the accused persons started when Uganda Police Force accused them of plotting to carry out petrol bomb attacks targeting government vehicles and buildings in various places in the country.

Police claimed that the suspects masterminded attacks on Kasubi Royal Tombs, former Jinja Resident City Commissioner Eric Sakwa in Nakulabye, Uganda Registration Services Bureau and Katwe police station among others.

The Court Martial for unclear reasons didn’t hear the bail application for the remaining 18 jailed National Unity Platform supporters who were arrested from Kalangala during the presidential election campaigns on charges of illegal possession of ammunition. Neither the accused nor their lawyers appeared in the Court Martial.



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