Monday April 28 2014

Witness pins UPDF soldier over Somalia offences


Kampala- Despite constant and abundant supplies of lubricants and spares to tanks used by UPDF soldiers serving under the African Union Mission to Somalia (Amisom), some of the tanks were not serviced in time, a situation which put operators at risk, a prosecution witness told court last week.

Maj Samuel Tumwebaze, who formerly worked as operations and training commander in Somalia, told the General Court Martial at Makindye that some of the tanks were deliberately left unserviced.

“I cannot tell what went wrong but there was overwhelming supplies of lubricants every three months but nothing was sent on the ground to service the tanks. I suspect that some of these items were sold,” Maj Tumwebaze said during cross examination.

Maj Tumwebaze, also a former commanding officer in-charge of the armoured elements, testified that the area of operation was bigger compared to the personnel which affected their work.

He told court that the commanding officer was to blame for the unserviced tanks but he amused court when he declined to take responsibility of the tanks he left unserviced during his tenure.

Maj Tumwebaze was testifying against the Tank Component commanding officer formerly attached to Amisom, Lt Col David Kreys Matua, before the court martial.
Lt Matua is facing charges of alleged failure to execute his duties, abuse of and violence to inferiors. He denies the charges.

Prosecution alleges that in June 2013, Lt Matua, while at the Amisom headquarters in Mogadishu, failed to exercise command, control and administration of his subordinates to ensure that periodic service was carried out on five main battle tanks.

It is alleged that in May 2013, Lt Col Matua ill-treated Capt Eria Kiberu Kissuko by ordering him out of an armoured vehicle which was outside the military defence, thereby exposing him to enemy sniper fire attacks.
Court set May 5 for further hearing of the case.