The Ugandan military on Thursday said a court martial temporarily sitting in Mogadishu, Somalia, has begun the trial of two of its senior army officers accused of “cowardice” following the deadly attack on peacekeepers by the militant group Al-Shabaab in Somalia in May.
The General Court Martial (GCM) chaired by Brig Gen Robert Mugabe is trying Maj Steven Oluka and Maj Zadock Obor, commanding officers of two military bases in southwest Somalia over two counts of cowardice after an Al Shabaab attack that left 54 peacekeepers killed, said the military in a statement issued in Kampala, the capital of Uganda.
The statement said the two senior commanders did not encourage military officers and soldiers under their command to fight courageously upon encountering Al-Shabaab on May 26.
Another four non-commissioned officers are also under trial over failure to protect war materials, contrary to the Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) Act, said the statement.
The General Court Martial that is traditionally conducted at Makindye in the capital Kampala will be holding sessions in Somalia for two weeks.
“The General Court Martial has jurisdiction to try cases anywhere in and outside Uganda where UPDF is operating,” the statement quoted Mugabe as saying. “At the end of the sessions, those who will be found guilty will be given appropriate sentences and those found not guilty will be acquitted.”
The soldiers were killed after Al-Shabaab, a militant group, overran a military base manned by a Ugandan contingent of the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) at Bulo Marer town, about 120 km southwest of Mogadishu, the capital of Somalia.
Together with Burundi, Djibouti, Kenya, and Ethiopia, Uganda is one of the troops-contributing countries to the ATMIS battling Al-Shabab in Somalia.