Army set to hold public trial for Bombo suspect

Thursday March 21 2013

Private Patrick Okot Odoch, the suspect in the recent

Private Patrick Okot Odoch, the suspect in the recent shooting near Bombo barracks, is paraded before journalists at Lira barracks on Tuesday. He was arrested from Ngai Sub-county in Oyam District. PHOTO BY HUDSON APUNYO 

By ANDREW BAGALA & HUDSON APUNYO

The army is to court martial a soldier who allegedly shot dead 10 people, including five soldiers, at Bombo Trading Centre in public.

Pte. Patrick Okot Odoch was arrested at Abere Trading Centre in Ngai Sub-county in Oyam District on Tuesday and the army was, by press time, transferring him to Bombo Army Barracks in Kampala for trial.

The UPDF 5th Division spokesperson, Lt. George Musinguzi, said Pte. Odoch will be tried in public by the army court.

“He will be tried by the Military Court Marshal in Bombo,” Lt. Musinguzi said.

Mr Okot, who has been on the run, faces charges of murder, attempted murder and indecent assault, among others. Most of the charges attract a death sentence.

He is alleged to have shot dead Sgt. Joel Obote, Sgt. Onesmus Odure, Cpl. Isaac Osere, Warrant officer II Francis Musana, Sarah Akol, and Wilfred Oledi, a market guard. Others are one Oketch, Odere, Private Kedi and the bar owner Maama Jackie.

The arrest comes days after the security agencies recovered a gun which he allegedly used in the shooting in Nakatonya Village, Nyimbwa Sub-county, Luweero District.

Detectives have been tracking the suspect on his mobile phone after he telephoned his colleagues seeking financial help.

It is the practice of the army to hold court sessions of suspects implicated in capital offences in areas where the crimes are allegedly committed.

Despite harsh punishments to officers who use firearms illegally, the number of those engaged in violent crimes is still high.

Lance Corporal Herbert Rwakihembo, who shot dead three people in Luzira, a Kampala suburb, in December last year, was sentenced to 30 years in jail for manslaughter and attempted murder by the military court.

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