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UPDF Soldier Jailed 51 Years for Murder

The UPDF 4th Division Court Martial sitting in Gulu found RA 213734 Lance Corporal Okello guilty of shooting and killing Beatrice Ajok, 52, and two of her sons; Dan Joachim Binyang, 18, and Owen Norman, 20.
RA 213734 Lance Corporal Godfrey Okello Oneka (R) before the UPDF 4th Division Court Martial in Gulu - Poto by Dominic Ochola

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A UPDF soldier who shot and killed three civilians in Gulu City has been sentenced to 51 years in prison.

The UPDF 4th Division Court Martial sitting in Gulu found RA 213734 Lance Corporal Okello guilty of shooting and killing Beatrice Ajok, 52, and two of her sons; Dan Joachim Binyang, 18, and Owen Norman, 20.

The incident happened at around 8:00 pm on the night of February 10th, 2020 from Pece-Vanguard parish, a suburb of Gulu City in the East Division. The murder was linked to a protracted land dispute between the accused and the deceased’s family.

While reading the judgement, Col. George Nambafu, the Chairperson of the 4th Division Court Martial revealed that after prosecution produced 14 witnesses, the court found Okello, 33, guilty of the three counts of murder contrary to Section 188 & 189 of the Penal Code Act.

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At the initial stage of the trial in February, Okello, 33, who is attached to the 2nd Motorized Infantry Battalion pleaded not guilty to the offence before the court. Col. Nambafu sentenced Okello to serve the jail term concurrently for each of the counts at Gulu Central Prison.

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During its deliberations in sentencing the convict, the court based itself on the factors aggravating death sentences such as the degree of injury or harm inflicted on the deceased persons, the parts of the victims’ body where the harm or injury was occasioned.

They also considered the repeated injury caused to the victims’ bodies, the degree of meticulous premeditation and the planning, the nature of the weapon used by the convict to deliberately cause loss of lives to the three deceased persons.

According to Col. Nambafu, the court was also mindful of the right of life and its ultimate protection of life which the convict being a member of the UPDF ought to have protected and preserved but instead, he abused this cardinal obligation which is accorded to the Defense Forces under the 1995 Constitution.

He further pointed out that that the sentence is to send warning and give deterrence to the would-be offenders from copying selfish characters and abuse of authority of unlawfully causing loss of life of innocent citizens.