Congolese Refugee, Four Others Remanded Over Illegal Access to the Air Drone Wing

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The court heard that between December 1, 2021, and December 5th, 2021 while at Entebbe Airforce Military Base in Wakiso District, the accused persons without authorization accessed the UPDF Air Drone Wing, which is prejudicial to the defense forces. .
09 Nov 2022 16:09
The Accused Persons Appearing in the Court Martial Dock.
The UPDF General Court Martial has remanded Patrick Tshimanga Maselele, a Congolese Refugee, and four others on security-related offenses. The others are Lt Isaac Makobore, a Pilot from the Uganda People's Defence Airforces, Denis Buchanan, a businessman and resident of Buziga Zone Ggaba Road in Makindye Division, John Bosco Nyundo, a resident of Kisubi in Kisenyi Town Council in Wakiso District and Godfrey Mukiibi alias Semakula, a resident of Akright Estates, Kakungulu along Entebbe Road. 

Tshimanga is a resident of Konge-cell in Buziga in Makindye Division in Kampala District. The suspects appeared before the Makindye-based court-martial chaired by Brigadier Freeman Robert Mugabe. The court heard that between December 1, 2021, and December 5th, 2021 while at Entebbe Airforce Military Base in Wakiso District, the accused persons without authorization accessed the UPDF Air Drone Wing, which is prejudicial to the defense forces.  

The suspects who were arraigned before the court by detectives from the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence -CMI pleaded not guilty to the charges. Their lawyers led by Eric Kiingi made an oral application for bail but the chairman asked them to make a formal application. The prosecution team comprised of Lt. Col Raphael Mugisha, Lt. Gift Mubehamwe, and Privates Regina Nanzala, and Phillip Olupot asked the Court to remand the accused persons as investigations are still ongoing.

Brigadier Freeman Robert Mugabe sent the Ugandan suspects to Luzira Prison until November 29th, 2022 while Makobore was remanded to Makindye Military Police Barracks. Initially, the Prosecution wanted the suspects remanded to Kigo Prison because of the Ebola restrictions. However, Brigadier  Mugabe noted that he doesn't understand their interest because both Luzira and Kigo are government prisons with the same services and decided to send the suspects to Luzira prison.

The arraigning of the suspects comes at a time their lawyers had filed an application before the High Court Civil Division for their unconditional release on grounds of illegal detention at CMI where they spent more than 48 hours. The applications were supported by the sworn affidavits of Gorret Bunjo Mukiibi, the wife of Godfrey Mukiibi, and  Jacques Kalumba, the elder brother of Tshimanga on November 1st, 2022.

In her affidavit, Bunjo contends that several military and police officers picked up Mukiibi from their matrimonial home in Namulanda in Busiro County in Wakiso District at around 6 am on October 22nd, 2022. According to Bunjo, the security officers surrounded their home and ordered the security guard to open and bundled up her husband in one of the vehicles and sped off. 

Bunjo said that was terrified by the gun-wielding personnel and inquired from the security men about the crime her husband had committed but they only told her to find him at  CMI for more information. According to the court records, Bunjo later followed up with her husband at CMI where she was told by one of the officers she identified as Afande Namara that he was in charge of the investigations but didn't give her attention save for sending her to the Special Investigations Unit in Kireka in Nakawa Division. 

On the other hand, Tshimanga's captors told his wife that they could not help since they were simply acting "on orders from above". Kalumba who also narrates a similar story, says that his brother was picked from their home in Buziga where they stay with his three children. If found guilty, the accused persons are liable to suffer death according to the UPDF Act of 2005 where the charges against them are derived.