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12 Remanded for Raiding Cattle Farm in Gulu :: Uganda Radionetwork

12 Remanded for Raiding Cattle Farm in Gulu

Prosecution told court that the suspects and others still at large on November 23 2023 entered upon the cattle farm in possession of Rutomol Enoc with intent to intimidate, insult or annoy the farm owner.
28 Nov 2023 09:57
The suspects in the dock before the Gulu Chief Magistrates Court on Monday.

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The Chief Magistrates Court in Gulu City has remanded 12 suspects to Gulu Main Prison for illegally raiding a cattle farm.

The suspects were arrested on Thursday last week from Paipeno village in Owalo Sub-county in Gulu District by the army after illegally gaining access to the cattle farm belonging to Rutomol Enoc.

They were charged with two counts of criminal trespass and conspiracy to commit a felony and appeared on Monday afternoon for plea-taking before Said Barigye, the Gulu Chief Magistrate.

The suspects however denied all the charges against them. They include Patrick Okello Onguti, Owen Chris Okoya, Owalo Sub-county LCIII Chairperson, Wilberforce Okongo, Christopher Rackara, Jolly Kidega, Christopher Nyero, Kenneth Orach, Pope Opoka, Justine Okumu, Michael Otto, John Oloya, and Brian Rubangakene.

The prosecution told the court that the suspects and others still at large on November 23 2023 entered the cattle farm in possession of Rutomol Enoc with intent to intimidate, insult or annoy the farm owner. On count two, the state noted that the suspects on the same date conspired together to commit a felony to wit criminal trespass upon Rutomol Enoc cattle farm.

Kyamugisha Kasurumu, the state attorney told the court that the investigation into the case was complete and asked the court to start hearing.

The accused defense lawyer led by Tony Kitara however applied for bail for the suspects arguing that they had overstayed in Police Custody beyond the 48-hour mandated period required by the law.

He presented 15 sureties for the suspects who included Betty Aol Ocan, the Gulu City Woman Member of Parliament, Kelly Komakech, the former LCIII Chairperson Pece Division, and Denis Owachgui, the LCIV Councilor for Iriaga Ward in Bardege-Layibi Division among others.

Although the State Prosecutor didn’t object to the bail application by the suspects' lawyers, she asked the court to deny them bail arguing she needed time to verify the documents before she responded for court to make a ruling. 

She noted that two of the suspects had missing National Identity Cards which are prerequisites for bail and asked the court for a one-week period to study all the documents tendered before the court by the defense lawyers.

Gulu Chief Magistrate Said Barigye however gave the state attorney only a day to review the bail application documents before adjourning the hearing to Tuesday for the final bail application ruling.

Tony Kitara, the suspects' lawyer however told Uganda Radio Network in an interview that they made bail applications for all the accused persons but noted the directorate of public prosecution requested for more time to review the bail application documents.

//Cue in: “we made application…

Cue out:…have been remanded.”//

He also noted that while 12 suspects were arraigned in court, five others who were charged with malicious damage to properties belonging to a cattle farmer weren’t presented in court.

//Cue in: “The suspects were…

Cue out:…desist from it.”//

Earlier on Monday, MPs from the Acholi Sub-region protested the arrest and lengthy detention of the suspects in police custody and accused the government of shielding cattle keepers commonly referred to as balaalo.

The protest came nearly a week after the expiry of the presidential order on the eviction of non-defiant cattle keepers from Northern Uganda by November 24.

According to the State Minister for Northern Uganda Rehabilitation Grace Freedom Kwiyucwyiny, there are an estimated 80,000 herds of cattle being kept by non-defiant cattle keepers in North and Northeastern Uganda.

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