Bombo Shooting Soldier Gets 90 Years

7458 Views Bombo, Uganda

In short
Private Patrick Okot Odoch, the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) soldier who killed 10 people in March this year, has been sentenced to serve 90 years in jail.

Private Patrick Okot Odoch, the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) soldier who killed 10 people in March this year, has been sentenced to serve 90 years in jail.
 
The General Court Martial Chairman Brigadier Fred Tolit sentenced Okot to 65 years on each of the 10 counts and 15 years for attempted murder but the sentences will be served concurrently. He also slapped another 25 years on Okot for failure to protect the gun and 20 years for robbing 2000 shillings on top of the 65, but they will also be served concurrently.

Brigadier Tolit said in his ruling that that although the maximum penalty for murder is death, it’s not mandatory in courts of law and Uganda is a signatory to various international conventions some of which condemn death penalty. He also ruled that some countries have already abolished it.

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The military court sat at Bombo Health Center Three as the convict was attached to Bombo Military barracks.

On March 9 this year, the 30 year old soldier shot dead at least 10 people and injured three others. Private Okot, whose army number RA201716, carried out the attack in revenge after one of the victims, Sergeant Onesmus Odule, had reported him to police for attempting to defile his 14 year old daughter Grace Chandiru.

The other soldiers killed included Francis Musana, Joel Obote, Osere Isaac and Namatovu Teddy. The civilian victims included Wilber Odiba, Aseru Amina who was the bar owner, Akullu Florence, the wife of Sergeant Odule, Akole Sarah and David Komakech.

Prosecution lead by Captain Fredrick Kangwamu asked court to hand him the maximum sentence to deter other UPDF officers from committing similar offences and denying the victims the right to live. But the defense counsel, Captain Moses Nasser Drago, prayed for a lighter sentence arguing that Okot has three children, a wife and is a first offender.

The defense Counsel Moses Nasser Drago rejected the sentence saying that it was harsh and vowed to appeal against it but state prosecutor Fredrick Kangwamu welcomed it.

Residents in Bombo town council expressed mixed reactions after the sentence with some insisting that Private Okot deserved a death penalty because he also denied ten people their right to live.

Sarah Ssewajje, a resident in Bombo town council says the bereaved families are suffering as result of the heinous act and don’t see why Okot should continue living. Ssewajje says Okot should have been killed on by firing squad for soldiers to learn that murder is criminal.

But Mustapha Kenyi Khamis, an opinion leader says that he is satisfied with the sentence and argued that death penalty doesn’t give room for the convicted people to repent. He added that he believes Okot will die in jail before completing his sentence.

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Joan Akello, the vice chairperson of Mpakawewo village in Bombo town council also welcomed the sentence but asked the UPDF to restrict its officers from walking out of the barracks with guns.

Early this year, the Army Court martial sitting in Luzira sentenced Lance Corporal Herbert Rwakihembo to 30 years in jail for manslaughter and attempted murder.

 

About the author

Brian Luwaga
Since Brian Luwaga joined Uganda Radio Network in 2011, he is still amazed how, "URN is a place that gives journalists a chance to enhance their skills . It gives a journalist an opportunity to adopt and master various aspects of journalism that include radio broadcast, social media, photography and television production."

A practicing journalist since 2009, first with Star FM, Luwaga has always been keen to write about the concerns of the "common person." Based for much of his career in Luweero, Luwaga takes it as a compliment if politicians complain that his reporting is too harsh.

In his journalism, Luwaga likes to merge the past with the present. He believes you cannot understand what is happening now, if you do not have a grounding in the past. Brian Luwaga is the Luweero URN bureau chief. Nakasongola, Nakaseke, Mityana, Mubende and Wakiso districts fall under his docket.

Luwaga is interested in humanitarian work and is a keen Rotarian.