Amuru- The UPDF 4th Division Court Martial on Wednesday sentenced a soldier belonging to the 29th Battalion in Bibia Parish, Amuru District to 45 years in prison for murder.
The court that convened at Bibia Trading Centre in Atiak Sub-county, found Lance Corporal Kennedy Okumu, 40, guilty of murdering Faidah Shidah, a bar-maid, over Shs1,000 on March 8.
According to prosecution led by Lt Francis Owiny, on the fateful day after picking a quarrel, Okumu went back to the barracks and picked up a colleague’s gun that he used to shoot and kill Faidah.
Lt Owiny added that Cpl Okumu acted with malice since he first went to his unit and came back with a weapon that later he used to commit a crime.
But Okumu’s defence lawyer, Lt Eric Akandwarira, argued that his client was provoked before he went for the gun and asked court to charge him with manslaughter.
However, the court martial chairperson, Col Olanya Ojara, said Okumu committed murder and should be held accountable for the act.
He subsequently sentenced him to 45 years in prison and asked him to appeal within 45 days if not satisfied with the ruling.
The division public relations Officer, Capt Caesar Olweny Otim, welcomed the ruling, saying justice has been served to the bereaved family.
Capt Olweny also apologised to residents, saying Okumu‘s action is contrary to UPDF’s code of conduct.
The deceased’s mother, Ms Naimah Bakur, said: “ I am glad that justice has prevailed but the UPDF should give me a helping hand so that I can be able to take care of the orphans.” The deceased left behind two children.
The Bibia Parish chairperson, Mr Flamin Nyume, appealed to the government to help the widow and her grand children to enable them live a decent life.
Past incidents of soldier killings
February 2014. Pte Alfred Adrani, 42, a UPDF soldier at Alpha detachment in Lakwana Sub-county in Gulu District, was sentenced to 15 years in prison and after he was found guilty of shooting dead a civilian and injuring three others.
March 9, 2013. Private Patrick Okot Odoch shot and killed 10 people. He was found guilty of murder and sentenced to 90 years in prison.
2012. Lt Cpl Herbert Rwakihembo was sentenced to 30 years for shooting dead three people and injuring a motorcyclist in Luzira, a Kampala suburb. The Court Martial Court of Appeal, however, has since reduced his sentence to three years.
SOURCE: Daily Monitor