UPDF, Police Bosses Clash Over Defiling Soldier
By Andrew Cohen Amvesi
A war of words has erupted between UPDF and police officers of Arua over a soldier accused of defiling a ten-year-old girl.
It all started when the army arrested one of their own, Cpl Oris Bainomugisha, a UPDF officer attached to 409 Brigade in Arua, defiling the girl at Arua Military barracks on Independence Day.
The suspect was netted live on the minor, who is a child of a fellow UPDF officer in the same barracks.
According to Lt. Ahmad Hassan Kato, the 409 UPDF Brigade public relations officer, Bainomugisha lured the girl in to sex in the absence of both of her parents.
But Kato said luck ran out for him when the girl’s mother returned home and got them live in the act.
As a result, Bainomugisha was arrested by fellow army men and taken to Arua CPS where he was detained for about three days.
However, trouble started when UPDF officers stormed Arua CPS on Wednesdaydemanding police to hand over the suspect back to them for further management.
This sparked off a fierce battle between police and the army with each institution accusing the other of undermining its authority.
As the fight climaxed Kato told off police that they merely to Bainomugisha to them for safe custody but not to be tried.
Police later succumbed to UPDF pressure and released the suspect to the soldiers.
“We arrested our suspect and took him to police only for safe custody but not to be investigated by cops because the military is well organized with its own judicial system,” Kato told Red Pepper in an interview in Arua town on Friday.
He went on accusing police of normally charging their soldiers with intent of sending them to prison even without their knowledge.
“About seven of our soldiers are currently languishing in prison without our knowledge. What police does is to arrest and send our soldiers to prison without informing us, and sometimes over minor offenses,” Kato stated.
“We have looked for some of our soldiers in vain. We ended up declaring them as absent without official leave (AWOL) until of recent, when we learnt that seven of them are in Arua government prison on police directives,” Kato stressed.
But Josephine Angucia, the North Western police spokesperson described Kato’s allegations as ‘reckless.’
She said police normally informs UPDF officials of the soldiers they arrest in operations.
“Police doesn’t arrest for nothing and before somebody is sent to prison, the Resident State Attorney (RSA) has to sanction the suspect’s file and advises thereafter,” said Angucia, adding that if there are soldiers in prison, it means they committed an offense.
Angucia instead blamed the army for always failing to cooperate with police in cases involving their soldiers especially that of Bainomugisha.
“If the UPDF knew that they have organized systems, why did they bring Bainomugisha to us?” Angucia asked.
She observed that it was totally wrong for the army to forcefully pick away Bainomugisha yet police has already opened up a file in relation to his case as investigations were ongoing into the matter.