Rwenzori attackers surrender as court martial is suspended

A total of 112 suspected attackers in the deadly July 5 tribal clashes, have surrendered to the Uganda People Defense Force and police in the Rwenzori region.

According to the security agencies in the region, the returnees had been holed up in various hiding places, including the slopes of Mountain Rwenzori.
They turned themselves in at the different reception centres established in Kasese and Bundigugyo districts, where clashes between attackers and security forces left 90 peopledead.

The attackers used crude weapons like spears, pangas, bows to attack civilians, a military barracks and a police station. The Rwenzori region army spokesperson, Lt Ninsiima Rwemijuma, said by yesterday morning Kasese had registered 71 surrender returnees while Bundibugyo had recorded 41 people.

Where are they?
Those who surrendered in Bundibugyo are detained at Buhundo Primary School where the UPDF has surrounded them while those who reported at Kasese are being held at the district Multi-purpose social hall in Kasese town.

Interestingly, Lt Ninsiima said, most of the persons who handed themselves in, in Kasese are from Bundibugyo.

“The reason why these people are reporting in Kasese is because they are fearing for their lives since they are known by the Bamba who they attacked,” Lt Ninsiima.

Asked about their fate, Lt Ninsiima said he did not know when they would to be released. “If we are to be guided by the Amnesty Act (law), they will be rehabilitated before they are reunited with their families,” he said.

He said intelligence officers were vetting the suspects to verity how they were behaving in Meanwhile, the Army General Court Martial session that was expected to commence hearings in Kasese yesterday was suspended until further notice.
“We have suspended the court martial here in Kasese today (yesterday) simply because the same court is in Bundibugyo doing the same work,” Lt Ninsiima said, adding: “We thought that two days were enough for (hearing) the Bundibugyo cases but depending on the number of the people so far tried, there is an indication that the whole week may be spent there,” the army officer said.

Out of the 131 suspects, only 40 had been charged by yesterday. Lt Ninsiima explained that the accused’s slow responses in court had slowed down proceedings. Last week, the Inspector General of Police, Gen. Kale Kayihura, announced that the suspected attackers would face military justice for reportedly attacking army installations.
The Army deputy spokesperson, Maj. Henry Obbo, later clarified that the suspects had offended the UPDF Act and the Fire Arms Act by targeting military facilities and charging (taking away) fire arms.

In a related development, the army general court martial sitting in Bundibugyo yesterday (Thursday) remanded 40 alleged attackers. All the 40 were remanded to prison until July 30 for further mention.

They all plead ednot guilty of the charges against them. This brings the number of the remanded suspected attackers to 43 since Tuesday when this court opened trial in Bundibugyo.
The court, chaired by Maj. Gen. Levi Karuhanga, resumes in Bundibugyo today to hear pleas from 83 other accused.

Out of 170 suspects to face court martial, 51 will be charged in Kasese on a date yet to be announced. They include Rwenzururu kingdom officials who are out of jail on police bond.

SOURCE: Daily Monitor

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