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UPDF drops charges against soldiers accused of brutalizing Makerere students

FILE PHOTO: UPDF troops brutalized students and raided their halls of residence during the tuition protest last year.

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Uganda People’s Defence Forces Military Court has dropped charges against soldiers accused of brutalizing Makerere University students.

The soldiers allegedly assaulted the students who were protesting against tuition increment.

Images and videos of soldiers ordering the students to roll on the ground including beating students with disabilities in their halls of residence went viral sparking a public uproar.

The operation commander, Captain Richard Lubeera and Corporal Sunday Ocira were arrested and dragged to Military Police Brigade Unitary Disciplinary Committee –UDC in November last year.

Military Police Spokesperson, Captain David Agaba said the soldiers were first released on bail as the court waited for a special committee set up to investigate the soldiers’ conduct at the University.

Agaba said that the Military Court asked the students who were allegedly brutalized to testify against the officers but none showed up. He says that the court was forced to temporarily withdraw the charges against the soldiers.

UPDF deputy spokesperson, Lt Col Deo Akiiki in January told Uganda Radio Network –URN that the special committee led by Lt Col Richard Okum had handed over the report on the findings to Military Police commander, Brig William Bainomugisha.

Captain Lubeera and Cpl Ocira pleaded not guilty to the offence. Both Commanders were charged with Neglect of Duty contrary to Section 114(1) of the Penal Code Act Cap 120.

“The court prosecutor informed court that investigations into the case are not yet complete and requested for an adjournment,” Akiiki said.

According to prosecution, Lubeera and Ocira between 22nd and 24th October 2019 19 while at Makerere University in Kampala neglected their duties of controlling persons under their command who ended up beating Up Makerere University students during strikes.

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