The Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) 3rd Division Court Martial (DCM) that sat at the Division headquarters in Moroto on Monday September 14 and Tuesday 15, 2020, sentenced a certain Loiki Apanaile and Lokure Achon to nine (9) years imprisonment for being in possession of firearms without license, contrary to section 3(1), (2), (a) and (b) of Uganda’s Firearms Act Cap 299.
Prosecution led by Lt Hamza Hirya told the Division Court Martial chaired by Col Bernard Tugume that on July 19, 2020, a UPDF cordon and search operation force found Loiki 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 firearm permit.
Similarly, Lokure Achon, aged 26 years, a resident of Panyangara parish, Panyangara sub county in Kotido district was captured live 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 56-291486 with 18 rounds of live bullets without a firearms permit.
While sentencing the convicts, Col Bernard Tugume said the charge 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 it’s neighborhood 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,” said Col Tugume.
“You are therefore sentenced to 9 years imprisonment in any government prison. This, we hope will send a warning message to those still with illicit firearms,” he added.
Meanwhile, the same Court sentenced Pte Rajab Kato to one year in detention at a military cell after he was found guilty of being absent without leave, contrary to section 148 (1), (2) (b) of UPDF Act number 7 of 2005.
The accused overstayed his leave by over a month without bothering to officially extend the leave in time.
The Court was adjourned to October 2, 2020, when it will be expected to handle more cases of unlawful possession of firearms among other charges.
Since the start of the second phase of disarmament in November 2004, the UPDF 3rd Division Court Martial has concluded over 500 cases of unlawful possession of firearms by civilians in Karamoja.