The UPDF third Division Court Martial (DCM) in Moroto has sentenced two Karamajong rustlers to nine years’ imprisonment each after being in illegal possession of two firearms.
Loiki Apanaile and Lokure Achon were sent to nine years’ imprisonment after being convicted of being in possession of firearms without licenses, contrary to section 3 (1), (2), (a) and (b) of Uganda’s Firearms Act Cap 299.
Prosecution led by Lt Hamza Hirya told the court chaired by Col Bernard Tugume that on July,19, 2020, a UPDF cordon and search operation force found Apanaile of Napong parish, Rengen sub-county in Kotido district, in possession of a submachine gun number 29807 with 02 rounds of live bullets without a firearms permit.
Similarly, Lokure aged 26 years, a resident of Panyangara parish, Panyangara sub-county in Kotido district, was captured alive in a UPDF ambush on August,22, 2020, while he was on a raid mission at Nadome village, Rekitae parish, Panyangara sub-county in Kotido district.
He was arrested while in possession of a submachine gun number 56-2912486 with 18 rounds of live bullets without a firearms permit.
While sentencing the convicts, Col Tugume said that the offence was grave in nature because the recovered weapons could have been part of those used to conduct illegal activities leading to not only loss of innocent lives in Karamoja Sub-region and its neighbourhood but also loss of community livelihoods.
“Those who have persisted in possessing illicit firearms in Karamoja sub-region are not only a danger to the people but also obstruct the opportunities for the sub-region to develop. They are the enemies of the people,” he said.
“You are sentenced to nine years’ imprisonment in any government prison. This, we hope, will send a warning message to those still with illicit firearms.”
Meanwhile, the same court sentenced Pte Kato Rajab to one-year in detention at a military cell after finding him guilty of being Absent Without Leave (AWOL) contrary to section 148 (1), (2) (b) of the UPDF Act of 2005.
The accused overstayed his leave by over a month without bothering to officially extend the leave time.
The court adjourned to October,2 2020 to be able to handle more cases of unlawful possession of firearms among other cases.
Since the start of the second phase of disarmament in November 2004, the UPDF third Division Court Martial has concluded over 500 cases of unlawful possession of firearms by civilians in Karamoja.
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