22 March 2019

Uganda: UPDF Soldier Shoots Three People in Kapchorwa

Kapchorwa — The police in Kapchorwa District have arrested a UPDF soldier on allegations of shooting and injuring three people in Kapchorwa Town.

The Sipi regional police spokesperson, Mr Rogers Taitika, told Daily Monitor on Wednesday that the suspect identified as Ashiraf Chelengat, 29, of 3rd Division based in Nakapiripirit District, attacked Kapchemweny supermarket in the town and shot three people under unclear circumstances.

"The incident happened on Saturday at around 4pm in the central town, where Mr Chelangat is alleged to have used his AK-47 rifle," he said.

Mr Taitika said the suspect is currently under detention at Kapchorwa Police Station.

He said the suspect will be charged with two counts of robbery and attempted murder.

"We are working on the case file, so that he can be produced before courts of law," he said, adding that the preliminary investigations indicate the suspect demanded money from the supermarket and when they refused, he opened fire.

He said the injured include a 23-year-old man, identified as Mr Benjamin Serioni, a supermarket attendant, who was shot in the arm.

"The injured are currently undergoing treatment at Kapchorwa hospital but are in critical condition," he said.

Other victims

Others who were shot include Mr Rajab Midada Rajib, a businessman and a resident of Igaga District, who was shot on the left shoulder, and Mr Robert Nalonzo, a resident of Kapcohorwa Town. He was shot in the throat.

Mr Taitika said the gun and bullets will help in the investigation.

"We have recovered the gun and some ammunitions," he said, adding that they are in touch with the UPDF authorities over the matter.

Mr Serioni told Daily Monitor that the suspect entered into the supermarket as any other customer but armed.

"We thought he was a customer but he instead ordered us to give him money but we refused and he opened fire. He shot at me and two others before he took off," he said.

Supermarket owner

Mr Joseph Kapchemweny, the owner of the supermarket, said: "He is my relative and his father is my brother and a close friend. I only did not know that the boy had joined the army. It was my first time to see him with a gun."

However, other locals told Daily Monitor that the suspect claims that he demands Mr Kapcheomweny money, which he has failed to pay back. Mr Kapchemweny denies the allegations.

The UPDF spokesperson, Brig Richard Karemire, said the soldier will face the law. "If you commit an offence, you face the long hand of the law," he said.

The UPDF Third Division Spokesperson, Capt Arthur Arinaitwe, said the suspect is currently in police custody but the UPDF was planning to transfer him to face military law.

Background

This year, a UPDF soldier who murdered four family members, including an unborn child in Alebtong District last year, was sentenced to 80 years in prison.

The UPDF General Court Martial in Alebtong, chaired by Col JB Katongole, convicted Pte Isaac Newton Okello after he pleaded guilty to murdering his brother and three other family members on December 12, 2018.

The accused admitted he shot dead his 35-year-old brother Emmy Okello, his pregnant sister-in-law Betty Arao, 29, and their 3-year-old son Elvis Okello.

During the sentence at Alebtong District headquarters, Okello pleaded for lenience saying he has a huge family burden.

The defence lawyer, Lt Godfrey Orishaba Kasiiku, told court that his client did not intend to shoot all the four family members. "The convict's intention on that fateful day was to kill Emmy Okello, but a seven-month pregnant Betty Arao and her son Elvis Okullo died accidentally," Lt Orishaba said.

The state prosecutor, Lt Alex Rasto Mukhwana, told court it was not the first time the convict was facing charges of murder.

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