The General Court Martial (GCM) sitting at Basecamp – UPDF Sector One Contingent Headquarters in Mogadishu, capital of Somalia, has sentenced two UPDF majors due to cowardice in action.
RO/10855 Maj John Steven Oluka 58 years and RO/09572 Maj Zadock Abor 49 years, were both found guilty on count one; Cowardice in Action contrary to section 120 (1) (2) (a) of the UPDF Act of 2005. Whereas Maj John Steven Oluka on top of count one was also sentenced with count two; Offences by a person in command when in action contrary to section 128 (1) (b) of the UPDF Act of 2005.
On cowardice in action, the prosecution stated that the two majors on 25th May 2023 while in Bulomarer Forward Operating Base (FOB) as officers commanding infantry companies, received an intelligence briefing from the Intelligence Officer and the Battalion commander over an impending attack from Al – Shabaab but failed to plan and deter the attack.
It’s said that on 26th May 2023 when Al-Shabaab attacked the base, the two Majors could not encourage officers and men under their command to fight courageously. They instead abandoned their troops and runway to Golweyn FOB. “Convicts’ act of running away from Al-Shabaab greatly impacted on the name of UPDF and gave Al-Shabaab opportunity to easily raid our forces. As a result of cowardice in action, a number of our soldiers and equipment were lost,” said the chairman of the GCM Brig Gen Freeman Mugabe.
On the second count; offences of persons in command when in action, the prosecution stated that Maj John Steven Oluka, on the 27th May 2023 while at Golweyn FOB commanding the rear protection force during the search, rescue and recapture Bulomarer FOB the operation was aborted due to the convict’s actions. “This court after listening to both defence and state councils respectively, sentences you as follows; you RO/10855 Maj John Steven Oluka you are sentenced to dismissal from the defence forces. You RO/ 09572 Maj Zadock Abor you are sentenced to dismissal from the defence forces. You have a right of appeal within 14 days if you are not satisfied with the decision of this court; may so rule done at basecamp Somalia at this day under my hand and seal of this court,” Chairman GCM ruled.
Punishment for cowardice in action section 120 (1) (2) (a) of the UPDF Act of 2005 and offences of persons in command when in action section 128 (1) (b), where it results in failure of operation or loss of life state that on conviction, the punishment is by death or in other circumstances, life imprisonment.
Other Non-Commissioned Officers sentenced over failure to protect war materials contrary to section 122 (1) (2) (g) of the UPDF Act 2005 included; RA/207973 L/Cpl Okot Alex Anyatta sentenced to 16 years, 7 months and 20 days. RA/228600 Cpl Twinemanzi Hagai was sentenced to 22 years, 9 months and 24 days imprisonment. RA/199300 Sgt Obeyo Ronald was sentenced to 17 years, 6 months and 19 days imprisonment and RA/146246 Sgt Kakooza William 55 years sentenced to ten months and 18 days detention.