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Court Martial Convicts 27 Rustlers For Illegal Possession of Firearms

While convicting the convicts, Col Francis Kateraho noted that the government gave the suspects ample time to voluntarily surrender illegal firearms in their possession but they chose to pay a deaf ear, which prompted the joint security forces to apply force leading to their arrest.
Francis Kateraho the chairperson UPDF 3rd division court martial

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 The Uganda People’s Defense Forces-UPDF 3rd Division court martial sitting in Moroto district has convicted 27 Karamojong cattle rustlers including three siblings. The convicts appeared before the court-martial chaired by Col. Francis Kateraho for illegal possession of firearms.

Maj Isaac Oware, the UPDF 3rd Division spokesperson, says that the convicts are part of 1933 cattle rustlers arrested by the joint security forces in their operations dubbed ‘’Usalama Kwa Wote’’, which aims at recovering illegal firearms from the civilian population.  

According to Oware, the convicts included three brothers namely Apaiteng Lomangat, Lokoya Lotyang and Nakorkomol Koryang who were picked up during an intelligence-led cordon and search operations in Kalobur village in Kotido district. 

The trio was found in possession of one SMG rifle. He explains that the siblings were using the gun to terrorize communities in Abim and Apeitolim in Napak district. He explains that the court also established that the convict’s cousin who is still at large is in possession of another illegal firearm.

 

While convicting the convicts, Col Francis Kateraho noted that the government gave the suspects ample time to voluntarily surrender illegal firearms in their possession but they chose to pay a deaf ear, which prompted the joint security forces to apply force leading to their arrest.    

He noted with concern the increase in unrest in Abim and Teso caused by the attacks by the rustlers. ‘’This honourable court is mandated to protect people and their properties by punishing those armed criminals who have turned guns as their business,’’ he said during the court session on Thursday. 

He found the accused guilty of illegal possession of firearms and sentenced them to ten years in jail.

//Cue in: “You were charged……

 

Cue out:…. fourteen days from now,’’//

The same court convicted Ayen Lokwateba for illegal possession of a firearm and handed him nine years because of his physical impairment. It came after Ayen informed the court that he is physically impaired because he was shot in the leg while trying to sneak to Turkana to raid animals. 

The convicts blamed their involvement in rustling on hunger and pleaded with the government to forgive them. This brings to 27, the number of 387 cattle rustlers convicted by the court-martial since Usalama Kwa Wote operations commenced in July 2021.