Witnesses make U-turn in soldier murder hearing
Posted Wednesday, January 16 2013 at 02:55
Prosecution witnesses testifying against a UPDF soldier, who allegedly shot three people dead on December 10, have retracted their statements as trial started yesterday at a public court hearing in Luzira.
Mr Ali Saazi Bavawala and 14-year-old Ashiraf Sseninde, denied the statements they made a day after the alleged shooting by Herbert Rwakihembo, a corporal attached to the Luzira Prison Military detach.
Cpl Rwakihembo, who is facing four charges of murder and attempted murder, denied the charges before a division court martial chaired by Col. Geoffrey Kakama.
Mr Bavawala, 27, told court that he never made any statement at the police after the alleged shooting, but some people whom he did not identify, convinced him to sign a document which they said would help him be transferred to Bombo Military Hospital for further treatment.
“I remember very well everything, but I did not report this case to any police. While at the clinic, many people used to come and they brought me a document to sign, and I signed thinking that it was an introduction letter to the hospital,” testified Mr Bavawala, prompting the court to summon a police detective only identified as Mafabi, to be cross examined over the statement.
The witnesses were testifying on the second day of the trial of the soldier amidst demands and objections from the crowd before a fully packed court sitting at Luzira Church of Uganda Primary School.
Mr Bavawala, a boda boda rider at Luzira, who denied knowing the accused, said he heard gunshots which led him to sustain injuries in the right thigh.
“On the fateful day, while taking tea at a restaurant, I had gunshots and as I tried to escape, I saw three women lying helpless. I could not tell immediately whether they were dead or alive but I was helped by a friend,” he said.
The juvenile, Sseninde, while denying his statement, testified that he witnessed Cpl Rwakihembo dressed in an army uniform shoot the three people, contrary to what he earlier told police that Rwakihembo tried to shoot him.
However, drama ensued in court as the crowd turned irate against Mr Bavawala and threatened to lynch him for testifying against the soldier, whom they wanted released. He was saved by soldiers.
Col. Kakama adjourned the case to today for further hearing. Residents however insists that the soldier be freed.