A Uganda People Defence Forces (UPDF) soldier has been charged and sentenced to 35 years for killing a lay reader of the Anglican Church in Kasese district.
The soldier, Pte. Abraham Lokwap, 23, attached to the 6th Mountain Brigade Battalion in Hima, was implicated for shooting and killing of Benon Nsimenta, a Lay Reader at Kogore Church of Uganda under the South Rwenzori Diocese on Wednesday last week.
The deceased was shot while riding on a motorcycle with his wife Allen Musimenta, at Karungibati, along the Hima- Kasese road. They were heading to their garden in Karusandara sub-county. But, its alleged, that the soldier accused them of defying guidelines on the nighttime curfew imposed by the president as part of the COVID-19 lockdown.
A division Court Martial sitting in Karusandara sub-county, Kasese District, convicted Lokwap on Tuesday evening after two days of trial. The army court chaired by Lt. Col. Felix Nyeko said that all the evidence produced before the court-martial sittings that started on Monday proved beyond a reasonable doubt that the two committed the crimes of murder. The accused pleaded guilty to the charge.
The same court also handed a 12-months sentence to Lt. Talent Akampurira who commanded the unauthorised patrol in which the Lay Reader’s life was lost. However, the court acquitted Pte. Jackson Nyero and Pte. Joel Otim over the same charges.
The decisions were based on witness accounts presented by Nsimenta’s wife and Doctor Jonathan Kateremwa who conducted Nsimenta’s postmortem.
Although the prosecution side had asked the court to hand them a life sentence, the court took into account the fact that the accused were still young and first-time offenders. Lokwap will be taken to Makindye military barracks while Lt. Akampurira will serve his sentence from Mubuku government prison