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UPDF soldier, peasant convicted over aggravated robbery

Private Sam Omeno and a Esia Nathan before the Court Martial. URN photo

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The Uganda People’s Defense Forces General Court Martial in Makindye has convicted their own, Private Sam Omeno and a peasant Esia Nathan, over aggravated robbery of 750,000 shillings.

Omeno attached to the Infantry of the Special Forces Command and Nathan, a resident of Kamuge in Bukedea district were convicted by the court presided over by Lt. General Andrew Gutti following their own plea of guilty.

They are facing trial together with two others Alex Okolong, also known as Aguero, a peasant and Joshua Solomon Opolot, a student at Kaliro National Teachers College in Kaliro district. They are all residents in Kamuge village, Kamuge Parish, in Kamuge sub county in Bukedea district.

The group is accused of having robbed Deo Opedes of 750,000 shillings on October 17th, 2021 at Manga village in Manga Parish, Kamuge sub county in Bukedea district.

According to the state, the accused used an AK-47 gun registration number UG-UPDF AK 575363 which is ordinarily a monopoly of the defense forces to execute their mission.

But Opolot and Okolong denied the charges on February 7th 2022, when they were arraigned in court for plea taking and on the other hand, Omeno and Nathan pleaded guilty.

As such on Monday, the prosecutors led by Lt. Alex Lasto Mukhwana read the brief facts of the case against them and the duo maintained that they are guilty hence their conviction.

Mukhwana noted that in July 2021, Private Omeno and another fellow soldier of SFC identified as James Odou, while at Kasenyi training school illegally got an AK 47 with seven magazines containing 210 bullets and transported them to Kamuge sub county, Bukedea district and left them with Opolot.

That later, Opolot on October 17th 2021, gave the weapon to Nathan and Okolong who then used it to rob Opedes of his money.

However, the prosecutors have asked court to hand them a deterrent sentence saying that their actions taint the image of the army and cases of robbery have been rampant in the country.

On their part, the convicts have asked for a lenient sentence on grounds that they have children and families to look after and that it is their first time to commit crimes.

As a result, court was adjourned to February 28th, 2022 for sentencing. According to section 286 (2) of the Penal Code Act, the maximum penalty for the offence of aggravated robbery is death.

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