Crime

Two UPDF Soldiers Charged over Makerere protests

Two UPDF officers have been charged with neglect of duty in connection with the torture of Makerere University students.

Capt Ronald Lubeera and Corporal Sunday Ocira from the 16 Battalion were on Friday arraigned before the Disciplinary Committee of Military Police chaired by Lt Col Richard Ochen Okum.

Lt Col Ochen told the duo that they neglected their duty when they failed to control soldiers under their command, who in turn brutalized students during strikes contrary to Section 114 (1) of the Penal Code Act. The incidents happened between October 19 and October 24.

However, the accused denied the charges and were granted bail.

They were tasked to report to court once every week.

Their case was adjourned to January 13, 2020 for hearing of the case.

The beating of the students drew public condemnation.

In a statement, the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) said “the mayhem created when security comprising the Police and army, raided some students’ halls of residence in the university at night was to say the least appalling”.

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The UHRC acting chairperson, Dr Patricia Achan Okiria, said various human rights such as the right to education, respect for human dignity and protection from inhumane treatment, among others were negatively impacted during the strike.

The Uganda National NGO Forum faulted the highhanded and violent response to the students’ peaceful protests.

“It, therefore, goes without saying that the invasion of the university ground, halls of residence and surrounding areas by a combined contingent of armed personnel under the pretext of law enforcement is wrong. This invasion is also a flagrant infringement of the mandates of State security as enacted under Articles 208 to 214 of the Constitution,” said Mr Richard Ssewakiryanga, the executive director of the National NGO Forum.

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