Gulu Shooting Suspect Pleads Not Guilty Top story

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In short
Prosecution led by Captain Charles Ssekayita told court that while at Smiling Panda 2, a Pub at Kabedo Opong Parish in Bar Dege Division on August 4th at about 11:30PM Odaga shot three people to death and injured another.

Lance Corporal Geoffrey Odaga, the UPDF soldier accused of shooting three people to death and injuring another in Gulu town early this week has pleaded not guilty to all the charges brought against him.
 
 

Odaga appeared on Thursday before the UPDF General Court Martial chaired by Lt. Gen. Andrew Guti at Gulu district council chambers. He was charged with three counts of murder, one count of attempted murder and aggravated robbery.

 
 
Prosecution led by Captain Charles Ssekayita told court that while at Smiling Panda 2, a Pub at Kabedo Opong Parish in Bar Dege Division on August 4th at about 11:30PM Odaga shot three people to death and injured another. 

He identified the dead as Sunday Ouma Wokorach, the proprietor of the pub, Yasin Fred - a resident and Richard Denis Ochen, formerly the organizing Secretary of the Democratic Party (DP) in Gulu.
 

 
The injured is Jimmy Ojok, a resident of Gulu town who is admitted at Gulu Hospital. Ssekayita also accused the suspect of robbing four bottles of beer and Shillings 61,500 from the pub.  Prosecution presented Aber Doreen Molly, the Cashier at the Pub and Solomon Owacgiu, a resident of Gulu town to pin the accused.
 
 

The trial, which commenced at 12:55PM, had to be re-started afresh after the accused opted to speak in Luo instead of the Swahili language, in which he began testifying. Odaga remained standing, composed and sweating throughout the trial.
 
 
He confirmed hearing the charges, saying he had understood them when they were read out to him by the Chairman. He entered the plea of not guilty by remaining silent to all the charges - paving way for a full trial. 
 

According to Lt. Gen. Guti, the General Court martial opted to try the soldier instead of the Division court martial following the  delay by President, Yoweri Museveni the Commander of Armed forces to renew the instruments of the division court martials nationwide.
 
 
The other members of the General Court Martial are Brig. Joseph Arocha, Major Sarah Navuga, Maj. Henry Musoke and Captain Teopista Gilama. The othera are Captain Paul Mugerwa and Warrant Officer Class One Paul Kamya. The trial will resume on Friday morning. 

 

About the author

Peter Labeja
Peter Labeja has been a practicing journalist for the last 13 years during which he has covered part of the brutal conflict which bedeviled Northern Uganda as well as the painful transition to Peace thereafter. Emerging post conflict issues such as land rights of under privileged widows and orphans, challenges of access to social services in the immediate aftermath of Lord’s Resistance Army conflict in Northern Uganda.

Labeja is now the Northern Uganda Bureau chief in Acholi Sub Region since 2014 - Gulu, Amuru, Nwoya and Omoro districts as well as South Sudan falls within his areas of jurisdiction. He previously worked with The Vision Group for four years.

Labeja’s major career interests are in Climate Change; Agriculture and Environment - natural resources such as Water, Oil and Gas; Transitional Justice; Human Rights, Democracy and Governance as well as South Sudan’s humanitarian crisis. In 2013, Labeja was awarded a prestigious Pan African Journalism Award for excellence in journalism at United Nation’s UNEP headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya for Climate Change and Health Reporting.