By Hope Mafaranga & Dorcus Murungi
BUNDIBUGYO - Time literally stopped in Bundibugyo town on Tuesday as people closed their businesses to witness the hearing of a case of 131 people who are suspected to have participated in the recent coordinated attacks in the region.
The areas attakced inluded Katumba and Kikyo police posts; Bundibugyo police station and Kanyamirima army barracks in Bundibbugyo district on July 5, 2014.
Suspected Bundibugyo attackers under tight security guard arrive for the Court Martial sitting at Bundibugyo district headquarters. Photos/ Hope Mafaranga
The suspects were tried by the Court Martial chairperson, Major General Levy Karuhanga at Bundibugyo district headquarters. People filled the venue and others filled Boma grounds to witness the proceedings.
The suspects were brought from police cells in a military police mini bus (Coaster) registration number H4DF 939 amidst tight security. The venue was surrounded by 'red top' military police assisted by the Police.
Many of them were aged between 19 to 37 years. During the morning session, the court was adjourned for two hours to allow the prosecution to re-organize the charge sheet.
Prosecution led by Captain Fredrick Kangwamu asked court to adjourn for two hours after some suspects' names were missing on list of the charge sheet.
They were charged with murder, attempted murder, acquisition of illegal arms, and possession of arms. The accused were represented by Capt. Ronald Iduli.
An injured suspect is carried out of the bus
The Court resumed at 2:30pm and among the prominent people that appeared was Mukwenda Misairi, the minister in charge of veterans in Obusinga Bwa Rwenzururu; Mutooro Yeremia, the minister of environment, Ibrahim Baluku, the Ntoroko district information officer and the Karugutu LCV Chairperson, Ben Mutahingwa.
Mukwenda and Mutooro asked the Court to allow them get their own independent lawyers which the chairman granted.
Among the suspects was Grace Biira, the only woman among those that attacked Kanyamirima army barracks.
They all had Bakonzo names and when asked which language they were comfortable with, 129 suspects said Rukonzo, while one said Rubwisi and another Swahili.
Most of them could hardly walk; others were carried by their fellow suspects while others had visible wounds and wore bandages.
However they spoke with courage and determination when they were asked if they had understood the charges read out to them.
When asked if they had any objection on the court members, a number of them answered that: “We have no objection and we shall not fear any one present on the court.”
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131 remanded in connection with Bundibugyo attacks