Arua, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Fourth Division Military Court Martial has sentenced a Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) soldier to 40 years in jail for the murder of a civilian on Christmas Day at Bondo Military barracks in Arua district.
Court presided over by the fourth Division Military Court chairman Col. George Nambafu, sitting at Bondo Army secondary school on Monday sentenced RA185000 corporal Franco Okwi attached to the 57 Battalion under 409 Brigade on his own plea of guilt over the murder of Philliam Shida 23, who was shot on December 25, 2022, in Etori Village, Arivu sub county in Arua district.
Court heard that, Corporal Okwi, aged 40 on December 25, 2022 while on guard duty at the small gate of Bondo military barracks saw the deceased coming towards him and after approaching him, they developed a misunderstanding which resulted in the death of Philliam Shida who was shot with an SMG gun registration UGUPDF49003009 which caught the deceased at the end of his right buttocks. The convict later reported the matter to the legal officer of the unit that he had killed a person.
While reading his judgement, the fourth Division Military Court martial chairman Col. George Nambafu said that there was no justification for the convicted soldier to use a gun to shoot an unarmed civilian whom he is by law mandated to protect. He further noted that the convict has the right to appeal the court decision within the next 14 days.
According to the postmortem report that was presented before the court, the deceased died due to severe hemorrhage/bleeding due to gunshot wounds on the lower buttocks.
Addressing court users before hearing the case, Lt. Col David Bamutazi, the political commissar of the fourth Division Military Court martial said they decided to bring the court to Bondo for people in the area for the purpose of accountability. He further notes that the UPDF as an institution cannot condone human rights abuses against civilians.
Meanwhile, Geofrey Okiswa, the Arua Resident District Commissioner (RDC), welcomed the judgment noting that the unfortunate incident had threatened the coexistence of the army and civilians in the district.
But, Aisha Muhammed, one of the residents of Bondo Trading center where the shooting took place has challenged the UPDF leadership to continue to reign over indiscipline officers since this is not the first time for such a shooting to happen at Bondo Military barracks.
According, the convict has been remanded to Arua main Government prisons in Arua City by the time of filling the story.
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