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LDU handed life sentence for Oyam murder

Convicts being brought to court. Courtesy photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The 5th Division Uganda People’s Defense Forces-UPDF court-martial siting in Oyam has sentenced a Local Defense Unit-LDU personal a life sentence for murder.

Thomas Jolly Opoka was found guilty for the murder of 65-year-old Francis Ogwang Munu, a resident of Amati parish in Oyam district. His colleagues, Felix Okumu and Lance Corporal Geoffrey Ogwang who was the commander were convicted as accomplices to the murder and handed 40 and 20 year jail terms.

According to prosecution, the convicts committed the offence on June 27th when they assaulted Ogwang at Amati trading centre in Kamdini sub- county in Oyam district while enforcing the night-time curfew. The deceased was a member of the village COVID- 19 task force.

The state produced seven witnesses who pinned the accused persons on the crime in the court chaired by Col. Paul Omara. Reading the verdict, Col. Omara explained that the accused persons played different roles in the murder a reason why they are charged separately.

Earlier in his submission, the state prosecutor Lt. Alex Rasto Mukhwana said the President had warned security personnel against using violence while enforcing his directives and wondered why the clean image of the UPDF should be tainted by anybody.

“In one of the president’s speeches of recent, he warned all the security forces not to beat any civilian. You honour since he is the fountain of honour there is nobody who is above him in this country. Then one wonders why the accused persons would go to this peaceful person during the broad daylight and commit atrocities to them which even lead to the death of one of the prominent members of this society,” Mukhwana said.

Adding that, “This force came from very far and UPDF has a clean record and we cannot achieve few members who are coming from nowhere to come and taint its image.”

He prayed that the court finds the accused guilty and hands them a harsh sentence to serve as a warning to others.

The Defence Counsel Lt. Abubakar Nyombi argued that the LDUs lacked experience and are young people who can still serve the country.

However, the state dismissed his argument saying the soldier’s experience should have helped him to make a better judgment and that the LDUs went through sufficient training.

Section 188 of the Penal Code Act provides that any person who out of malice and forethought causes the death of another person by an unlawful act or omission commits murder and is punishable by death upon conviction.

The convicts have a right to appeal to the General Court Martial within 14 days starting July 7, when the judgment was passed.

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