A Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) soldier accused of shooting dead four family members in Alebtong District in December last year has been charged with four counts of murder.
The victims include a 35-year-old Emmy Okello, his 29-year-old wife, Betty Arao and their three-year-old son, Elvis Okullo.
Pte Isaac Newton Okello, 43, is also accused of preventing a child from being born by killing its mother who was seven months pregnant. Pte Okello is said to have used a submachine gun number UG UPDF56031694 to Arao and her family.
The UPDF general court martial chaired by Col J.B Katongole in Alebtong District on Monday heard that Pte Okello allegedly committed the offence contrary to section 188 and 189 of the Penal Code Act, Cap 120. Killing unborn child is contrary to section 212 of the Penal Code Act.
Pt Okello attached to UPDF 405 Brigade in Moroto District was arrested on December 12, 2018, three days after the shooting.
Prosecution led by Lt Alex Rasto Mukhwana told court that on the fateful day at about 7.30pm, Pt Okello while at Okut village, Alebtong parish, Aloi Sub-county, Alebtong District with malice, aforethought, unlawfully caused the death of the four family members.
Lt Mukhwana further said Pt Okello opened fire on the victims while they were having supper at their home in Okut village, Alebtong District.
The Resident District Commissioner of Alebtong, Ms Josephine Omara Olili, said the incident has tainted the name of the district.
“It is the first of its kind that the court martial has come to Alebtong. It is what we have been waiting for because we want justice to prevail,” she said.
“Generally, the people of Lango have been waiting to see the court martial. This kind of nasty killing must stop because the peace that the government has brought must not be tampered with.”
Ms Olili urged the residents to always consider round table discussion over land wrangles and other conflicts other than resorting to murdering one another.
Mr Moses Ogwang, while appearing as the first witness before the court martial said the community is waiting to see a fair hearing and justice.
The trial comes at a time when the army has undertaken community work including cleaning public places like markets, hospitals, among others as part of the activities to mark UPDF week ahead of the 38th Tarehe Sita anniversary that will be held on February 6 in Kitgum District.
Celebrated every year, Tarehe Sita marks the birth of the National Resistance Army (NRA)/UPDF and also the launch of another phase in the struggle by the population against misrule in Uganda.