The Fourth Division Military Court Martial has sentenced a Uganda Peoples’ Defense Forces (UPDF) soldier to 40 years in jail for murdering 23-year-old Philliam Shida.
According to Col. George Nambafu, the fourth division military court chairperson, on December 25, 2022, RA185000, Corporal Okwi Franco, who is attached to the 57 Battalion under the 409 Brigade, gunned down a civilian in Etori village, Arivu sub county, in Arua district with an SMG gun registered UGUPDF49003009.
Col. George Nambafu condemned the act describing as unfortunate and ruthless act which must not be tolerated by the institution adding that the army will not condone any cases of indiscipline in the military because they use guns to protect the people of Uganda and their property.
“There was no justification for the convicted soldier to use a gun to shoot an unarmed civilian whom he is by law mandated to protect,” he said.
While addressing court before hearing the case, Lt. Col. David Bamutazi, the political commissar of the Fourth Division Military Court Martial, said they decided to bring the court to Bondo for the purpose of accountability.
He further notes that the UPDF as an institution cannot condone human rights abuses against civilians.
Geofrey Okiswa, the Arua Resident District Commissioner (RDC), welcomed the judgment, noting that the unfortunate incident had threatened the coexistence of the army and civilians in the district.
According to the Martial Court, the convict has been remanded to the main government prisons in Arua City.