GULU, UGANDA: The hunter has become the hunted as embattled UPDF Major Travers Kibuuka on Wednesday pled before the Gulu Division Court Martial to allow him to talk to the complainants in the case of Assault and occasioning bodily injuries so that the matter is settled out of court.
Not so long ago during the infamous Ngoro (Zoka) torturer camp incident, the victims from whom the then-powerful UPDF Major is seeking clemency were badly humiliated one of the victims 19 years Anzoa Juliet who fiercely resisted the onslaught sustained a broken arm and her legs were spread wide apart before a stick was stuck into her genitals.
In the court session held at Gulu barracks on Wednesday, July 12, 2023, the Gulu Division court martial chairman, Col George Nambafu granted the two parties; Major Travers Kibuuka the accused, and the victims;- Ms Lokua Beatrice and Ms Juliet Anzoa to try the alternative means of dispute resolution and informed both parties to inform the court of the outcome on July 14, 2023 (today).
Major Kibuuka had earlier in the day pleaded not guilty to two counts of assault occasioning bodily harm to Ms Lokua Beatrice on county one and on count two he was charged with assault occasioning bodily harm to Ms Juliet Anzoa.
Colonel Nambafu in his statement said; “The court found that all your sureties are civilians who cannot compel a soldier at the rank of a major to attend court sessions, I, therefore, remand you to Gulu City prison till July 14, 2023.
Through his lawyer counsel Onen James of Gulu-based Konrad and Company Advocates, Major Kibuuka who had ‘visibly lost weight’ and appeared frail applied for court bail pending disposal of the case but he was denied bail as his civilian sureties with very low community standing at the level of peasant farmers were found unsubstantial.
Major Travers Kibuuka who was deployed to the Zoka military facility in 2022 as the commander of the UPDF’s 71st Battalion has been rated by the residents and leaders in Adjumani as the most fierce, ruthless and indiscipline leaders who operated on the highest level of deception claiming he was assigned on a special operation to deal with illegal activities in Zoka forest and its environs.
But as fate would have it, the Major soon assembled a gang team who were assigned to deal in logging, lumbering, charcoal trade and land grabbing. Kibuuka who instilled maximum fear in the residents and leaders was named the god of Zoka.
He reportedly established a detachment in Zoka forest and later in Ngoro West which he used for fleecing charcoal dealers and influencing land deals.
The god of Zoka later established a tactical base at Dubai Resort located on the outskirt of Adjumani town which is visited by the affluent and venerated people of Adjumani town where he hosted friends and business allies, his everyday bills which he paid fashionably were close to shs 5m according to his close confidant revealed.
The pin-sized bouncing Major Kibuuka has bragged of being one of the well-heeled (wealthy) UPDF commanders in the 4th Division, his close aides divulged that on good days they were reportedly mincing up to shs66m as this involved impounding only three heavy-duty trucks with charcoal loads and each truck would fetch loads of money in Kampala market.
He took advantage of the land conflict in Zoka to orchestrate lucrative land deals aside from other cash flowing from lumbering and logging in Zoka forest.
It is reported that the administration in Adjumani district and other government agencies like UWA and NFA were operating in the shadows of Major Kibuuka who claims to be taking direct orders from the State House and has naturally refused to be part of and take instructions from the district security committee.
The god of Zoka not only defied orders from Adjumani district civilian authority but also defied his supervisors the 71st battalion commander Major Olweny and the 503-brigade commander Lt. Colonel Mugabe Kochi as he was believed to leaning on the former 4th Division commander Brigadier Bonny Bamwesaki and now the godfather has been sent on the diplomatic mission in South Sudan.
No UPDF commander who was deployed to Zoka military facility has emerged successful after all the deployment is so tempting, the place is endowed with natural resources, mafias are ready to work with commanders and mince money, the place which also houses Apaa which is infested with conflict has no firm government in place in terms of social service points it is rich and remote but then ungovernable.