The General Court Martial (GCM) at Makindye in Kampala will on November 23, 2023, begin hearing the case, regarding the attack on Buulo Mareer Forward Operating Base in Somalia.
Al-Shabaab militants on May 26 this year, laden with bombs and over 800 fighters, attacked and overran the said base, killing 54 Uganda Peoples’ Defence Forces (UPDF) officers.
Two senior UPDF officers, commanding the said base have since been arrested, charged with cowardice in action and remanded to Makindye Military Quarter Guard.
The officers are Maj. John Stephen Oluk, 58 and Major Patrick Zadok Obor, 49, all attached to the Zulu BGXXXVIII Battalion.
Reappearing before the GCM, on Tuesday, (UPDF) Director of Prosecutions Lt. Col Raphael Mugisha told court that investigations regarding the case are complete.
“My Lord chairman and honourable court members, investigations are complete. We, therefore, pray that the case is slated for hearing,” Mugisha told court.
This prompted GCM chairperson Brig. Gen. Robert Freeman Mugabe to adjourn the case to November 23, 2023, for hearing.
Mugisha is prosecuting the case alongside Lt Alex Mukhana, privates Anthony Phillip Olupot and Regina Nanzala whereas Capt. Simon Nsubuga Busagwa and Private Priscilla Kakande are the defence lawyers.
On May 26, Al-Shabaab, using three vehicles laden with bombs and over 800 fighters, attacked and overran Bulomareer Forward Operating Base.
The UPDF’s Lt. Col Edward Nyororo, the deputy to Brig. Gaetano Peter Omola, the Uganda contingent commander in Somalia, manned the base.
However, Col Nyororo was among the 54 UPDF soldiers killed in the dawn attack on the African Union Transition Mission in Somalia (ATMIS) base at Bulomareer.
Lt Colonel Nyororo was the third-highest ranking UPDF soldier to be killed in Somalia after Lt Colonel Patrick Tibihwa and Lt Colonel Christopher Kaija.
Following the attack, President Yoweri Museveni directed that Oluka and Obor be apprehended and charged for ordering the soldiers to retreat.
Museveni said corruption played a major role in the problem, citing the promotion of a soldier responsible for managing an army shop to a commanding position.
Prosecution alleges that Oluka and Obor on or around May 26, while deployed as officer in command ‘D’ Coy and officer in command Admin Coy respectively, in the Bulomareer Forward Operating Base in Somalia, ran away and incited soldiers under their command to run away from Al-Shabaab (terrorists) while in contact.
It is also alleged that the two accused persons on May 27, while deployed as officers in command rear/protection force, in a search and rescue operation in the areas of Golweyn and Bulomareer, did not encourage the officers and militants under their command to fight courageously upon coming into contact with the enemy (Al-Shabaab).