By Nkonge I Kaggwa Kampala Uganda.
Civilians arrested over the recent ethnic clashes between the Bamba, Banyabindi and Bakonzho tribes in the Western part of Uganda are set to be tried in the Court Martial. The clashes that greatly affected areas of Ntoroko, Bundibugyo and Kasese, left over 100 people dead, many injured, thousands displaced and property destroyed last week.
The civilians will be subject to the same procedures as those serving in the armed forces as stipulated by the Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) Act, section 119(h), which states that persons found in the unlawful possession of arms, ammunition, or equipment “ordinarily being the monopoly of the “Defense Forces”, may be subject to military law, a clause the UPDF has offered for prosecuting the civilians in question.
However, the Ugandan opposition is up in arms and has categorically opposed the UPDF plea to try the arrested civilians in the in the court martial. Ugandan Shadow Minister for Defence and Security, Fungaroo Kaps Hassan said trying civilians in such a court is irregular and would otherwise be righting military injustice in Uganda. Addressing journalist at parliament in Kampala this week, Hassan said: “The military court martial of Uganda is faulty and works as if it was the headquarters of injustice in Uganda. It needs reforms urgently.