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Brig. Ondoga's lawyer forced to retract statementsPublish Date: Mar 04, 2014
Brig. Ondoga's lawyer forced to retract statements
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Former commander of the Uganda contingent in Somalia, Brig. Michael Ondoga and Lt. Col. Sam Kirya (both in dock) look on as their lawyer, Geoffrey Ntambirweki Kandeebe puts forward his case at the General Court Martial, Makindye. Photo by Enock Kakande
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By Pascal Kwesiga

A city lawyer has been compelled to retract a statement in which he said, Col. Henry Isoke, the deputy chief of intelligence in charge analysis at the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence, was ignorant about the agreements between UPDF and African Union (AU).

Geoffrey Ntambirweki retracted ‘insulting’ questions after the state prosecutor, Capt. Gerald Bamwitirebye, said his (Ntambirweki) questions were aimed at riling the senior army officer who has collected and analysed intelligence for the UPDF for 27 years.

The General court martial chairman, Brig. Moses Ssentongo, said Ntambirweki was undiplomatic in cross examining the witnesses and stopped him from insulting the witness further.

Ntambirweki said he was gauging Isoke’s level of understanding of the UPDF’s standard operational procedures and the agreements the force signed with AU to join the African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM).

“I retract that my Lord. I have known Col. Isoke since 2000 and I have ever been before him (chairman of general court martial) before,” Ntambirweki said as he asked court to pardon him for his ‘insulting’ questions.

Isoke, who served as the chief military information officer for AMISOM in 2011 was on Tuesday testifying against, Brig. Ondoga, the former commander of the Ugandan troop contingent in Somalia and Lt. Col. Sam Kirya, the former contingent’s military information officer. 

Isoke headed all intelligence chiefs of countries that have troops in the war tone Somalia

He was invited by the state to furnish court with information about the duties and responsibilities of the contingent commanders and the contingent military information officers. Ondoga and Kirya are facing charges of failure to brief and execute their duties.

The duo are alleged to have given false information about the enemy’s position at Jonale and Sharambot and failed to stop an illegal power connection from AMISOM to the civilian premises in the neighbourhood of Aljazeera training centre last year.

At some point, members of the public were asked to leave court to enable Isoke explain the flow of intelligence between the AMISOM’s chief military information officer and the intelligence chiefs of countries that have troops in Somalia.

The court resolved to always ask the public to leave court to receive evidence deemed to be sensitive to the country’s national security in hearing cases allegedly committed by UPDF officers in the horn of Africa nation.

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