An ex-soldier was on Sunday morning found dead in his grass thatched hut after hanging himself using a telephone cable in Moroto district. The incident happened at Old Swahili Camp, Kakoliye village, two kilometres East of Moroto town.
Pte. Mariko Lopeyok believed to be 45 years old, reportedly committed suicide after retiring to his house on Saturday night. He was discovered on Sunday morning at around 11am by concerned neighbours who forcefully broke into his hut.
Police attached to Moroto Central Station arrived at the scene late morning ordered for his burial.
According to Jacob Lojore, Lopeyok’s father, the deceased joined Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) in 1998 and retired in 2006 after serving government for eight years. Lojore says he became concerned about his son when he came to check on him in the morning and he had not yet woken up yet he was an early riser. He was only informed later in the day by a messenger that Lopeyok had hanged himself.
Lojore claims that his son had been frustrated by failed attempts to collect his pension from government as a retired soldier. He appeals to government to pay up his retirement benefits to support the family residing in rented huts in Moroto.
But Sheikh Mohamed Akida, the village Chairperson, says the action taken by the deceased was wrong. He explains that thousands are demanding for their pensions from government nevertheless have not taken their lives. He acknowledges that the late has been seeking for his retirement benefits since 2006. He adds that he has on several occasions opened bank accounts in Stanbic hoping that he will be paid but all in vain.
A neighbour Ramadhan Lokitone, appeals to government to consider paying veterans. He adds that most ex-soldiers who were raiders are leading frustrated lives after cows have been decimated across Karamoja sub region.
Lt. Jimmy Omara, the UPDF 3rd Division spokesperson, regrets the actions taken by the soldier to commit suicide. He says there are other avenues to solve problems other than suicide. He adds that soon the the army will embark on counselling soldiers on economic and social issues among others. He asked the commanders of various units to talk to their soldiers and learn the challenges they face and how to help them cope with them.
Lopeyok’s suicide comes hardly two days after the death of Pte. Cornelius Morris Jakuma attached to Ngariam detachment in Katakwi district. He committed suicide last Friday after his colleagues insulted him that he had contracted HIV.
Pte. Micheal Kilama attached to Rupa detachment in Moroto district shot himself dead three weeks ago over a shs.20, 000 shillings debt. He has since been buried at Moroto barracks cemetery after his family abandoned the body with UPDF.
Another veteran Patrick Atusa attached to Alpha security services shot himself dead recently while loading his gun. The incident happened at Malukhu ward in Mbale municipality.