Families demand answers over sons shot dead by soldier

Locals accuse the UPDF soldier of shooting the pair. PHOTO/COURTESY

What you need to know:

  • The locals, who attended the funeral rites, told this publication on Sunday that the deceased were shot by the UPDF soldier after they developed a misunderstanding.

Two families, whose sons were allegedly shot dead by a Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) soldier in Tororo District, are seeking compensation.

Stephen Olongo, 20, a resident of Pobondo Zone, and John Oketcho, a resident of Maundo East Nagongera Parish in Nagongera Sub-county, were reportedly shot dead on February 12, 2022, by a UPDF soldier at Sop Sop South Village where they had gone to attend funeral rites.

The soldier identified as Wilson Okello, who hails from the same area and others attached to Rubongi Army Barracks in Tororo, had reportedly been deployed to provide security for the event that was being hosted at the home of Mr Opio Okeke on the fateful day.

The locals, who attended the funeral rites, told this publication on Sunday that the deceased were shot by the UPDF soldier after they developed a misunderstanding.

They said Okello, who is currently on the run, shot Olongo in the chest, killing him on the spot before he turned the gun on Oketcho, whom he shot in the stomach. Oketch later died at Mbale Regional Referral Hospital.

The families presented their demand for compensation to the UPDF Second Division commander, Brig Elius Zaake Okolong, who had visited them to present the army’s contribution towards burial expenses.

Brig Okolong, who handed over Shs2m to each of the deceased’s families, assured them that the culprit will be prosecuted.

Mr Samuel Okello said his son, Olongo, a boda boda rider, was the bread winner in the family and that his sudden demise will push them into absolute poverty. “He has left many dependents and we ask the UPDF to support them since it’s one of its soldiers, who killed our son,” he said.

Brig Okolong said other suspects have been arrested and will be tried before the court martial on charges of murder and misuse of fire arms.

He said they are also investigating the circumstance under which the soldiers were deployed because there are no records showing that on that night, some of the soldiers from the barracks had been deployed to provide security at the function.

Daily Monitor also learnt that the suspect is from Bombo Army Barracks and not Rubongi, and he was on leave when he committed the alleged murders.

“He was not among the deployed soldiers but he knew them. He only grabbed a gun from his colleagues after he developed a quarrel with the deceased,” one of the locals told Daily Monitor.

The district chairperson, Mr John Okeya, advised the aggrieved families to hire a lawyer to help them get compensation. 

“I have cautioned them against revenging as they had planned because revenge would result in committing other crimes,” he said.

Bukedi south regional police commander Julius Caesar Tusingwire said they have opened up a murder case and will use the post-mortem report to guide them in the investigations.

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