Five UPDF Soldiers Face Public Trial for Torturing Civilians

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Five (5) Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) soldiers who were arrested for torturing a civilian have appeared before the 505 Brigade Unit Disciplinary Court chaired by Lt Col ML Kigundu that sat for a public hearing in Lagot Parish, Mucwini Sub-county, Kitgum district.

The five soldiers, identified as Corporal Odong Richard Burton, Private Omara Martine Henry, Private Mongu Acel Sunday, Private Ogwang Denish, and Private Omara Morish, were charged with torturing and causing harm to a civilian, Omon Nelson, on December 11, 2023, contrary to Section 312(d) and 5(k) of the Prevention and Prohibition of Torture Act, 2012.

The Deputy Defence Spokesperson, Col. Deo Akiiki, assured the locals that justice would prevail, and that’s why the Court has sat immediately.

β€œIn UPDF, we don’t have space for indiscipline; if you do anything bad, especially to ‘wanainchi’ (civilians), take it seriously because our job is to protect the borders of this country, people, and their property,” Akiiki said.

He condemned the act and said that as a government, they don’t condone torture as a means of extracting information or punishing, but instead the government is mandated to protect the rights of the citizens.

The Deputy Commander of the 5th Infantry Division, Col. Gai Mbandwa, assured the locals that the incident (torture) is not a UPDF policy.

β€œIt was done on an individual basis, and that’s why we have arrested them,” he said.

The Kitgum Resident District Commissioner (RDC), Mr. Ebil Jimmy Sseggawa, commended the UPDF leadership for arresting the culprits and producing them to face the law.

The soldiers were remanded until December 15, 2023, when they will appear before the 5th Division Court Martial, which has the power to hear capital offence cases.

The court was attended by the 505 Brigade Commander, Col. Patrick Opera, Kitgum District Local Leaders, and the local community, among others.

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