EX-M23 REBELS SENTENCED TO TWO YEARS IN PRISON
By Richard Akandwanaho
The Kabale chief magistrate’s court yesterday sentenced 43 Ex- M23 Combatants two years in prison for illegal entry into Uganda and six of them to two years over illegal possession of fire arm on Uganda land.
Prosecution led by Batson Baguma, the Kabale State Attorney told court that was presided over by his worship Moses Samuel Kagoda Ntende that on 22nd February 2017, forty-four Ex-M23 rebels were intercepted by Ugandan security at Busanza in Kisoro District while after crossing from the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo without lawful travel documents.
They were also found in possession of five Sub Machine Gun and one PK riffle with 160 rounds of ammunition. 38-of them escaped from Bihanga army barracks while two of them joined on the way 18 of them are at ranks from Captain to Lieutenant and the rest have lower ranks of sergeant and corporal. They were arrested and taken to UPDF 35 battalion in Kisoro for detention.
Some of the ex-rebels include Julius Mugabo, Anthony Makara, Robert Mugisa, Bosco Kazarwa, Innocent Turikumwe, Bavid Kiwede, Augustine Mugyiraneza, Ananias Habiyaremye and Gasasi Nsenga among others.
When the charges were read for them they now changed there earlier plea of not guilty that pleaded guilty to the two charges when their lawyer Justus Muhangi of Muhangi and company advocates said that he was withdrawing from the case as he failed to get coordination with his clients its only Pedro Mugaga who pleaded not guilty.
As they asked court that they be given a lighter sentence as they are remorseful of having entered the country illegally but asked court that they be deported as they fear for their life.
While delivering his judgment Kagoda it was then that he sentenced all of the 43 to one year in prison on the account of illegal entry into the country However the offences that they committed are serious sons that may cause the security of Uganda in jeopardize it he sentenced them to one year as on the second account of illegal possession of fire arm he sentenced Lt. Bizimana Ngirenta, Lieutenant Faustine Biseruka, 2ndLieutenant. Celestine Mugabo, Warrant officer I Etienne Mugisha, Warrant officer I Eteinne Musengiyuva and Sergeant Mupenzi Kamasi to two in prison but they are to serve with the first account concurrently.
He also ordered that after serving the sentenced they will not be deported but the minister responsible will handle it.
He also ordered that the six guns that were recovered from the ex combatants be taken to 2nd division headquarters in Mbarara He later remanded Pedro Mugaaga to Ndorwa government prison till 10th may 2017 when his case will come up for mention