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UPDF to probe soldier torture claim, says CDF

KAMPALA- The Commander of Defence Forces, Gen Katumba Wamala, has ordered for an investigation into the suspected torture of a soldier, who was serving in Somalia over missing ammunitions.

The UPDF soldier, Cpl Majibu Ssebyara, had been deployed as a gunner in Somalia under UPDF’s Battle Group XIV in 2015 when he was allegedly arrested and tortured by tying a heavy bag on his testicles.

On Tuesday, Daily Monitor exclusively reported that Cpl Ssebyara was detained at Makindye Military Police Barracks, Kampala, where he remains squirming in pain after suffering injuries allegedly resulting from gross physical abuse.

Cpl Ssebyara successfully sued his employers to halt his trial since the investigations were done after physical abuse, which he said damaged his private parts.

In her November 22 judgement on the case, High Court Judge Patricia Basaza Wasswa declared the corporal’s trial by the military court as “illegal, null and void” and issued a permanent order staying the proceedings in criminal case number UPDF/GCM/15/2015.

She also ordered that the military court to discharges the soldier and never to use evidence obtained through torture against him.

Army appeal ruling
In a statement yesterday, Gen Katumba said: “The High Court ruling stopped the trial of charges on failure to protect war material, which the [Uganda Peoples Defence Forces] UPDF has respected.

However, despite the appeal made, the UPDF is conducting an in-depth investigation on the torture claims and whoever will be found culpable will face the law.

The two offences, torture and failure to protect war material, will be treated separately and one should not wash away the other”.

The UPDF and Defence Ministry spokesman, Lt Col Paddy Ankunda, in a statement issued yesterday, said the army has appealed the High Court decision on Cpl Ssebyara’s case.

“The UPDF clarifies that it received a High Court ruling that stopped the General Court-Martial (GCM) from proceeding with the trial of the accused on grounds that he was tortured during investigations.

The GCM respected the ruling of the High court and stopped the trial of the accused on the said offence.

The UPDF, through the Attorney General, has, however, appealed the High Court ruling on torture and so we are not obliged to comment on the ingredient of the matter because the matter is subjudice,” Lt Col Ankunda said in the statement.

©Alleastafrica and Daily Monitor

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