UPDF Soldier Jailed 30 Years For Murder

1470 Views Kitgum, Uganda

In short
Tabu Ochan who pleaded guilty on Thursday, told court that he shot dead Locoro Lopech during a scuffle in which the deceased wanted to disarm him.

A Uganda People's Defense Forces soldier in Kaabong district has been sentenced to 30 years in jail for killing a civilian.
The 5th Division UPDF Court Martial on Friday morning sentenced Private Tabu Ochan Ayella to the jail term, for the murder of Locoro Lopech, who was a resident of Kalapata village. Locoro died on 23rd June, 2014, after being shot at by Ochan.
32 year old Ochan was attached to the 49th Battalion in Kaabong district.

Lopech is survived by a widow and eight children. Lt. George Musinguzi, the UPDF 5th Division spokesperson says hearing of the case commenced on Thursday and Ochan pleaded guilty.

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Lt. Musinguzi says Ochan who pleaded guilty on Thursday told Court that he shot dead Lopech during a scuffle in which the deceased wanted to disarm him. He said he had gone to arrest the deceased from Warrior Street in Kabong Town Council on suspicion of being involved in undisclosed criminal activity.

In a judgment read by Lt. Col. Martin Nahulira, the Chairman of 5th Division Court Martial today, the court martial said it found overwhelming evidence that Ochan maliciously planned to kill the deceased.

Condemning the actions of killing innocent civilians, Lt. Col. Nahulira said Ochan should serve a sentence of 30 years imprisonment effective June 23, 2014 when he was arrested in Kabong Government Prison.

35 year old Angelina Wole, Lopech's widow asked government to compensate her husband to help her raise her children. She said Lopech was the bread winner in the family. 

Lt. Musinguzi says the primary role of the military was to dispense justice to the affected family and relatives. He explained that the widow will be referred to agencies that can help her process compensation from government.


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.