By David Okema
The Military Court Martial has granted bail to a Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) soldier accused of killing a mentally impaired woman.
Private Samuel Kidega attached to Palaro 55 UPDF Infantry Battalion is accused of killing Mary Aida Yona, a resident of Palaro in Aswa sub-county, Gulu District, on October 1, 2016.
Private Kidega, who was arrested on October 7, 2016, denies the charge, arguing that he was not in Palaro when the offence was committed.
“Bail is a constitutional right and since investigations are complete, the accused can no longer interfere with the court process. He is, however, expected to report to the office of the legal office every Friday and should remain within the premises of 4th Division headquarter until conclusion of the case,” Col Olanya Ojara, who chaired the court, said in his ruling.
The military court heard that accused attacked the deceased at a cooperative union store near Palaro trading centre and forcefully had sex with her before strangling her.
Evidence presented to court shows that a dog tag belonging to the accused was recovered at the scene together with three condoms, one of which was used.
But Kidega told the court that on the fateful day, he was on leave at his home in Laliya in Gulu town, about 22 miles from his duty station, and that he had earlier before the death of Yona reported the loss of his dog tag (military identification tag won around the neck using a chain) to his unit commander, Capt Daudi Mohamed.
Capt Mohamed corroborated statement of the accused, telling the court that he had granted Private Kidega duty leave and by the time the incident happened, he was on leave. Mohamed added that Kidega had also reported the loss of his dog tag before the deceased was murdered.
Defence witness, Nighty Lanyero, 28, a neighbour of the accused, told the court that Private Kidega was at his home on September 30, 2016, adding that the accused left the village when he resumed work.
While asking for bail, Private Kidega’s defence team led by Capt Blasio Chodo argued that Kidega, who has been on remand since October 2016, has never had access to his three wives and 12 children who badly need him.
Court did not pronounce itself on the date for reading of sentence.