A UPDF officer attached to the 11th battalion based in the volatile Central African Republic (CAR), Pte Michael Ayebare, has received a 10-months custodial sentence after he was convicted of failure to protect a war weapon.
Pte Ayebare was part of the Ugandan contingent hunting for the elusive ICC-indicted LRA rebel leader Joseph Kony in the CAR. It is alleged that Pte Ayebare lost his weapon, PK Machine Gun No. 31155, with 100 bullets on January 16.
Prosecution led by Capt Musa Juuko alleged that Pte Ayebare left his gun in his house at around 7pm and went to Ayem Trading Centre in CAR. Capt Juuko told court that on return to the base, Pte Ayebare found his gun missing. A search was launched but the gun was never recovered.
The army charged him with failure to protect war material contrary to section 122 (1) & 2 (e) & 2 (i) of the UPDF Act No 7 of 2007. The soldier pleaded guilty to the charge after he was arraigned before the Division Military Court chaired by Col Olanya Ojara last Friday.
Pte Ayebare had earlier on admitted that his gun got lost but pinned an officer he identified as Lance Corporal Katerega. He told court that he left his gun with Katerega as he left for Ayem Trading Centre, a nearby local market in Obbo, CAR to buy food items. He claims that on return, Katerega denied knowing the gun’s whereabouts leading to his (Ayebare) arrest.
However, he later changed his statement and said he was responsible for the loss of the weapon.