UGANDA: LDU personnel accused of murder pleads guilty.

UGANDA: LDU personnel accused of murder pleads guilty.

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A Local Defence Unit (LDU) personnel who is accused of murdering a 65-year-old man in Oyam District, has pleaded guilty.

 Pt Jolly Thomas Opoka, 22, told the Army Court Martial sitting at Amati Primary School, in Oyam District that he’s responsible for the death of Francis Ogwang Munu.

 Munu, who was a resident of Amati Parish, died on June 27 after allegedly being beaten by security operatives who were enforcing the ongoing curfew to control the spread of coronavirus.

 “I found him lying under a table. I tried to wake him up by kicking him. He stood up and pleaded with me not to kill him,”’ Pt Opoka told court on Monday.

Pt Opoka opened up after prosecution presented seven witnesses who all testified how he kicked and stabbed the deceased with a gun bayonet. 

 The LDU personnel said that he kicked Munu after being told that he was drunk and had epilepsy.

 “I could not touch him because I feared contracting coronavirus. We were instructed by the commander to surround the place where people were drinking waragi,” he said.

 Pt Opoka, Pt Felix Okumu (both LDU personnel) and their operations commander, Lance Corporal Geoffrey Ogwang are facing  murder charges.

 The army court, chaired by Col Paul Omara, remanded them to Loro Prison as proceedings continue.

 Col Omara wondered why the soldier decided to kick Munu to wake him up.

“You could have used your hands and wash them later.  Why didn’t you take other steps to get the old man up?” Col Omara asked.

 Lt Alex Rasto Mukhwana, the state prosecutor, said if found guilty, the accused persons should be given a deterrent sentence.

 However, the defence counsel, Lt Abubakar Nyombi, asked court to exercise leniency considering that the accused soldiers joined the force recently.

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