Tuesday July 15 2014

Court starts hearing cases of suspected Rwenzori attackers today

By Job Bwire

The military court today starts hearing the cases of 131 suspects who were charged in connection with the July 5 Rwenzori region attacks which left over 80 people dead and several others injured.

The police spokesperson, Mr Fred Enanga on Tuesday told Daily Monitor that the suspects were charged with various crimes including murder, attempted murder and treason, among others and are supposed to appear before the General Court Martial presided over by Maj Gen Levi Karuhanga.

“There are 199 suspects(most of whom are civilians) from Bundibugyo, Ntoroko and Kasese. ,ost of them(131) will today (Tuesday) appear before the military court sitting at the Bundibugyo district grounds while the others will subsequently be arraigned in civil courts for trial,” Mr Enanga said.

According to Section 119 of the 2005 UPDF Act, a civilian can be tried in a Court Marital if found in illegal possession of arms, ammunition or any other stores that are ordinarily a monopoly of armed forces or if a civilian abets a member of defence forces to commit a service offence.

The UPDF 2nd Division spokesperson in Mbarara, Maj Ronald Kakurungu, said not all the suspects will be tried by the military.

“There is a team of police Special Investigations Branch, CIID (Criminal Intelligence and Investigations Directorate) and UPDF screening these suspects. There are those who will be sent to civil courts but others will be tried by the court martial,” he said.

More than 80 people, majority civilians, were either shot dead or hacked to death on July 5 when a group of youth the government said were tribal militiamen staged simultaneous attacks in Bundibugyo, Kasese and Ntoroko districts in western Uganda.

Since then, a total of 199 suspects have been taken into custody, according to police.