UPDF court martial jails councillor 6 years for illegal possession of firearms

Councillor Christopher Anywar (L) is led by a UPDF soldier to appear before the army Court Martial at 4th Division barracks in Gulu on February 14. PHOTO/MARKO TAIBOT 

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  • But Col Nambafu, in his ruling, said that six years was fair enough for the convict since he did not waste the court's time by pleading guilty.

The Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) 4th Division Court Martial has sentenced a Kitgum District councillor to six years behind bars for unlawful possession of firearms.

Monday’s Court sitting chaired by the division’s court martial chairman, Col George Nambafu, ruled that Christopher Anywar, a Palabolo Parish councilor in Namukora North Sub County, Kitgum District illegally possessed 48 and 7 rounds of ammunition for AK 47 and PK rifles respectively.

The convict pleaded guilty to the charges, contrary to Section 3, sub-section 12 of the Firearm Act, Chapter 299.

During the hearing, the Division prosecutor Capt Augustine Tumwebaze told court that the convict was arrested following an aggravated robbery in the area.

“He was the key suspect and that prompted the police to mount a search leading to the discovery of 48 rounds of ammunition and 7 rounds of PK including army uniforms in his possession,” Capt Tumwebaze told the court at the division headquarters in Gulu City.

Anywar was charged alongside his accomplice Henry Yokan who pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Urging a deterrent and maximum sentence, prosecution displayed the said illegal weapons and firearms noting that “they are used to threaten the community in the area.” 

However, Lt. Julius Nkomejimana, the defence lawyer told court that Anywar picked the ammunition at a garden next to the South Sudan border and had informed local authorities including the sub-county GISO.

“Even when he reported, no action was taken. Illegal firearms and ammunition are a common thing in the area and this needs proper investigations before concluding that the accused picked them for bad intentions,” Lt Nkomejimana said.

In his submission, Anywar, who pleaded guilty, asked the court to give him a lighter sentence since he never used the items for any bad intentions.

“It is my first time committing such an offence and I had no bad intention and I ask for leniency because I have a wife who is diabetic with seven children to look after. Giving me many years to be in prison would affect the family,” Anywar pleaded.

But Col Nambafu, in his ruling, said that six years was fair enough for the convict since he did not waste the court's time by pleading guilty.

“After considering all the factors, the Court has sentenced you to 6 years imprisonment with effect from February 14, 2022. If you are not satisfied with this sentence, you have 14 days to appeal to the general court-martial,” he ruled.