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Treason suspect disclosed 17 hidden guns—witnesses

By Vision Reporter

Added 16th February 2012 01:36 PM

Hearing of the case in which 13 people including a journalist are charged with treason, started on Wednesday at the High Court in Kampala with two key witnesses narrating how one of the accused revealed 17 guns hidden in a cave.

Hearing of the case in which 13 people including a journalist are charged with treason, started on Wednesday at the High Court in Kampala with two key witnesses narrating how one of the accused revealed 17 guns hidden in a cave.

By Andante Okanya  

Hearing of the case in which 13 people including a journalist are charged with treason, started on Wednesday at the High Court in Kampala with two key witnesses narrating how  one of the accused revealed 17 guns hidden  in a cave.

The accused are journalist Patrick Otim together with Alex Okot Langwen, Patrick Komaketch, John Otim, Patrick Okello, Jimmy Oceng Opoka alias Billy, Alfred Lubel Olanya, and Francis Akena.

Others are Lt.Phillip Okello, Micheal Obol, Sgt.Deovelente Komakech, and Frank Abonga.

The Latanya Village LC1 chairman in Aruu County, Pader district Ceasar Oryem and Police detective George Ochola narrated how John Otim led Police to Oyuku hill where 17 guns were recovered in a cave.

Prosecution led by Senior Principal State Attorney Joan Kagezi, and State Attorney Sam Oola alleges  that they committed the offence between 2006 and May 2009 in eight districts of Kampala, Masindi, Gulu, Pader, Kitgum, Nebbi, Apac and Amuru.

Justice David Wangutusi is the trial judge. The defence lawyers are Ladislau  Rwakafuuzi,Yunus Kasirivu,  Musa Ssembajja,Rashid  Babu, and Saudha  Nsereko, and Darlton  Opwonya.

It is alleged that the suspects formed a rebel group called the Popular Patriotic Front (PPF) and recruited people to fight and overthrow President Museveni's government and that they mobilized logistical support for the rebellion, by obtaining satellite phones, Global Positioning System (GPS) machines, solar panels, black polythene sheets, gum boots, laptops walkie-talkies and fire-arms.

Prosecution witness  number one Oryem said  he  got to know  of  John Otim  on  June 7, 2009, when he  was  approached  in his capacity as the local council by detectives from the CID headquarters. He said they drove four miles ahead to Oyuku hill, where the guns were found.

Location

"Otim John removed five guns from one hole in the cave. There were other 12 guns hidden in another hole in the cave, bringing the number to 17 guns. We walked for two-and-a-half hours looking for the guns,"Oryem said.

But during cross-examination, Ssembajja wondered how it would take them two-and-a-half hours to locate a place that John Otim already knew. Asked whether it could have taken them 30 minutes to locate the area, Oryem insisted that Otim knew where the guns were hidden.

Opwonya poked holes in Oryem's testimony and branded him a liar, saying he did not understand the contents of his statement recorded by the Police. Oryem had earlier stated that he could not read and write in English but could only do so in Acholi.

Detective Ochola confirmed Oryem’s story, saying the detective team from Kampala used a GPS machine to locate the area where the guns were hidden.

Rusty guns

Ochola, who was prosecution witness number four, said nine of the guns had completely rusted and had no visible serial numbers, while eight of them had visible serial numbers.

The 17 guns were displayed before court, and identified by Oryem. However, the defence objected to their being tendered in as exhibits, saying they need to be properly identified.

Prosecution is today (Thursday) expected to submit them in as exhibits.

Also on Wednesday, Gemma  Adupa  of Patudar parish  in  Gulu  Municipality, and a neighbour  to one of the accused, Olanya narrated how 131 voters cards, two walkie-talkies plus diskettes, were found at his home. Prosecution tendered in the items as exhibits.

But during cross-examination by Opwonya, he branded her a liar, saying she had a land wrangle with Olanya.

Prosecution witness number two Adupa, who was visibly offended, denied having knowledge of any wrangle with Olanya. She said she did “not wish him bad”. 

Treason suspect disclosed 17 hidden guns—witnesses

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