LDU gets life imprisonment as army fights to save credibility
From Kaseee to Oyam to Mityana and Makerere, the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) is working like a fire brigade squad putting out flames that have engulfed its reputation.
The latest action is the sentencing to life one of its men, an LDU for killing a citizen in Oyam district recently during the enforcement of the president’s directives over the curfew.
The 5th division Court Martial sitting in Oyam district on Monday sentenced to life imprisonment a Local Defense Unit [LDU] Personnel over murder.
22-year-old Private Jolly Thomas Opoka had pleaded guilty for the murder of 65-year-old Francis Ogwang Munu, a resident of Amati Village, Kamdini Sub-county in Oyam district.
Ogwang died on the June 27, 2020 from injuries he sustained after he was allegedly brutally beaten by LDUs who were enforcing the Presidential directives on Curfew announced.
The army court that was chaired by Col. Paul Omara also sentenced another LDU Personnel, Private Felix Okumu, a co-accused to 40 years in Prison.
Lance Corporal Geoffrey Ogwang, a UPDF officer and his co-accused who was commanding the patrol was also found guilty and handed 20 years behind bars.
The army spokesperson Brigadier Richard Karemire said that discipline will always be a core value of the UPDF.
Brigadier Karemire added that justice will always be given to the victims as there is no room for impunity in the forces.
The tough sentences come amid public outcry about the violent behavior and human rights violations that have been perpetrated by the LDUs.
Just this week, the image of the UPDF was cast into the dark spotlight after LDUs officers assaulted the Mityana district chairman Joseph Luzige.
According to Luzige, he encountered the hostility of the LDUs when he tried to stop the soldiers from assaulting a woman who was being carried to hospital on a Boda boda.
Brig. Karemire later issued an apology on behalf of the UPDF and said the indisciplined soldiers had been arrested.