UPDF Cracks Down on Misconduct in Force, Trying Officers in Somalia

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The Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) General Court Martial (GCM), which has traditionally held court in Makindye, is now holding sessions in Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital city.

In the statement released by UPDF on November 2, 2023, the GCM, under the chairmanship of Brigadier General Robert Freeman Mugabe, has now spent one week at Sector One Contingent headquarters trying UPDF personnel alleged to have committed capital offences while in Somalia.

According to Mugabe, they decided to sit at Basecamp-Mogadishu to access witnesses in the cases since most of them were in the mission area.

“The GCM is hearing a case involving two senior officers at the rank of major who are charged with two counts: cowardice in action contrary to Section 120 (1) (2) (a) of the UPDF Act 2005, and offences by persons in command when in action contrary to Section 128 (1) (b) of the UPDF Act of 2005,” said Mugabe.

He also stated that from May 25th to May 27th, 2023, Maj. Steven Oluka, 47, and Maj. Zadock Obor, while deployed as officers commanding companies in Bulomarer and Golweyne, did not encourage officers and militants under their command to fight courageously when they came into contact with Al-Shabaab.

Other cases that the GCM is trying include failure to protect war materials contrary to Section 122(1)(2)(h) of the UPDF Act, which involves four non-commissioned officers (NCOs).

“The General Court Martial has jurisdiction to try cases anywhere in and outside Uganda where UPDF is operating,” said Mugabe.

He further explained that, according to the UPDF Act of 2005, the GCM has jurisdiction to try cases that are capital in nature.

Mugabe went on to say that the Memorandum of Understanding and Status of Forces Agreement with the host nation, Somalia, requires each troop contributing country to test its own personnel while on duty.

The GCM will be in Somalia for two weeks hearing cases, and those found guilty will get suitable penalties, while those found not guilty will be acquitted.

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