Uganda’s Second Division Military Court Martial, on Wednesday March 2, 2023, sentenced a UPDF soldier to 30 years in prison over murder of a civilian and attempted murder on another one following a bar brawl on Christmas Day (December 25, 2022) in Rubaare Sub County, Ntungamo District.
Court presided over by the second division court martial chairman, Col Rogers Ndikusoka Kitwala, sitting at Rubaare town council hall on Wednesday sentenced RA212788 Pte Albert Eyanu Fred attached to the 33rd Battalion at Irenga, Ntungamo District to 20 years in prison for murder and 10 years for manslaughter.
The daylong hearing had three witnesses testify against Pte Eyanu before court found him with a case to answer on the charges he had denied on plea.
“Pte Eyanu Albert Fred, you are hereby sentenced to 20 years imprisonment on count 1 of Murder and 10 years on count two of attempted murder. You have a right to appeal your conviction in the next 14 days,” Col Kitwala ruled.
Court heard that Pte Eyanu, 41, on December 25, 2022 shot and killed Namanya Benard after he (deceased) attempted to evict him from a bar at Mutojo trading centre, Rubaare Town Council. The bar owner, Mr Eric Kadugara, had reportedly requested the soldier to leave the premises as it was past midnight but it was in vain, which prompted his forceful ejection that caused the shooting.
Mr Kadugara was also injured in the process.
While Eyanu had denied all the charges, three witnesses including Mr Kadugara, a forensic expert and an arresting officer pinned him of the charges.
Pte Eyanu in his defense said he shot at the victims in self-defense as they thought to disarm him.
Addressing court users before hearing of the case, Col Kitwala noted that they brought the court to Rubaare for people in the area to witness themselves the trial of the case that shocked many in the budding town.
The Ntungamo Resident District Commissioner (RDC), Mr Geoffrey Mucunguzi, noted that the case had threatened the coexistence of civilians and the army in Ntungamo despite past harmonious living.
“I want to report to you that Ntungamo is free and peaceful apart from this case that had threatened the harmony of civilians. There have also been cattle thefts that have since been halted and we are safer than never,” Mr Mucunguzi said.