Court Releases UPDF Colonel Blamed for Death of 19 AMISOM Soldiers

Court Martial building in Makindye

Makindye General Court Martial has set free a Former Ugandan Forces Battle Group Xvi Commander under The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

Lt Col Bosco Mutambi has been facing charges of failure to brief and neglect of duty which caused the death of 19 Soldiers and left 22 wounded while on mission.

Prosecution claimed the Colonel failed to brief his seniors about a possible attack at Janaare Battle Group 16.

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Later on, drug the unit was attacked by Al-Shabaab on September 1, 2015 and in the process UPDF lost 19 soldiers while 22 were wounded and one is still missing.

Mutambi was immediately demoted from Colonel to Lieutenant Colonel on orders of the Commander in Chief Gen Yoweri Museveni.

The dismissal of this case however, followed Defense Counsel Paul Kuteesa’s request for dropping of the charges and release of his client, since the prosecution had failed to commence the hearing of the case for a period of almost a year ever since his client was charged.

In July last year after being charged, the defence asked for a pre-trial disclosure but to date they have never been served by prosecution.

The defence argued therefore that their client was being deliberately denied his right to a fair trial which contravenes Article 28 (1) of the Constitution.

In the last sitting, the lead prosecutor Major Raphael Mugisha informed court that the case file had been returned  to the DPP of UPDF to clear out some issues which were not explained in court, leaving a gap in his submissions.

General Court Martial Chairman Lt Gen Andrew Gutti thus dismissed the case, ruling that prosecution abused the accused’s rights of fair hearing when it failed to facilitate a speedy trial despite of the fact that they had all the requirements to facilitate one.

Gen Gutti further ruled that the accused, a senior military officer has for a year suffered under uncertain charges and was perceived by his superiors as dangerous an unreliable person.

“It’s our view that the court process was abused to require this court to exercise its inherent powers to prevent the abuse and act by ordering the stay of the accused’s trial. It is clear that the period of delay of trial was so long, on unsatisfactory reasons thus occasioning injustice to the accused, we therefore dismiss the charges and set the accused to liberty,” ruled chairman Gutti.


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