November riots: UPDF and LDU officials jailed for life and 35 years respectively

BY: Eyalama In News, Politics On

The Division Court Martial sitting at Kakiri in Wakiso district has sentenced to life imprisonment and 35 years imprisonment a UPDF officer and an LDU personnel for killing protesters during the November 18 riots in Kampala.

Lance Corporal Augustine Mugisha was accused of shooting dead Grace Walungama, a mechanic at a garage in Lugalo, Kosovo in Lubaga division before later turning the gun onto Hussein Ssenoga, an LDU personnel.

When the riots broke out Walungama was standing by the roadside as he watched rioters and when LDU personnel came to disperse the crowd, he ran to the garage from where he was followed by Lance Corporal Mugisha who shot him twice and died instantly.

The UPDF officer later shot dead Hussein Ssenoga, an LDU personnel who was questioning him for shooting dead Walungama .

However, when he was presented before court, the UPDF Lance Corporal lied to court about the death of the two people and consequently asked court for a lighter sentence on grounds that he has seven children and two wives.

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However, the pleas fell on deaf ears and he was sentenced to life imprisonment.

Mustafa Ssali, an LDU personnel was accused of killing one Ibrahim Mutaasa Kirevu at Wandegeya police station.

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According to prosecution, Kirevu, a mechanic who had gone to pick money owed to him by another man at Wandegeya police station was arrested in the resultant melee.

When police brought rioters Kirevu  was also asked to join them and enter the cells but when he refused, an LDU ordered him to enter by force.

The LDU personnel later pushed Kirevu using the nozzle of his gun and all of a sudden, he was shot in the stomach twice.

In his defence during the trial before the First Division Infantry Court-Martial presided over by Col. Sam Mugyenyi, the LDU personnel said Kirevu who was under arrested had tried to snatch his gun and that he was mistakenly shot by a bullet had remained in the safety catch of his gun.

However, the army court found that the defence by the LDU personnel was full of lies and that he had intentionally shot Kirevu dead after arresting him.

The army division court chairman, Col Mugenyi consequently sentenced Ssali to 35 years imprisonment to serve as an example to other officers who would be tempted to behave in the same manner and   kill suspects.

“The UPDF apologises for the delay in dispensing justice but this can be blamed on bureaucracies in some govt offices which need to be investigated,” Col Sam Mugyenyi said.

He also asked the family of the deceased to contact the UPDF leadership for compensation as normally is done when a soldier is found guilty of murder.

November riots

Over 54 people were killed and many others injured when spontaneous protests broke out in Kampala and several towns around the country after the arrest of National Unity Platform presidential candidate, Robert Kyagulanyi, also known as Bobi Wine in Luuka district.

When the riots broke out, security fired live bullets in a bid to stop the protesters and in the resultant melee that last two days, a number of people were killed.

Last year, President Museveni said whereas some of the people killed were rioters, a couple of others were hit by stray bullets but asked police to investigate the protests and come up with a report.

“Police should audit the issue of killing people by stray bullets. What was the original purpose of the bullets that strayed? The phenomenon should be audited. Even if you don’t have anti-riot equipment you can ably control a riotous situation while firing in the air. With firing in the air there can’t be stray bullet because by the time the bullet falls on ground is has lost strength,” he said.

“Stray bullet can only come when you fire directly at attackers and bullet misses target to hit the bystanders or people in their homes.”

In August, the president said the report about the November 18 protests would soon be made public.

“In the November riots, some of the people killed were rioters but in some cases, there were stray bullets but what were you aiming at? After scrutiny, the report will be made available to the public,” he said.

“There should be no killing of any Ugandan for any reason apart from if you are condemned by the court of law to be hanged. Do not damage our legitimacy, history and achievements. Our human rights record is incomparable to anyone in the world. This was one of the main reasons why NRM/A went to the bush and fought from 1971.”

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