Two UPDF commanders, Maj John Steven Oluka, 58, and Maj Zadock Abor, 49, were sentenced to dismissal with disgrace from the army by the General Court Martial.
This decision followed their escape from their troops during an Al-Shabaab attack on a UPDF base in Bulamarer, Somalia, in May. The court found them guilty of cowardice under the UPDF Act of 2005.
During the attack, over 50 UPDF soldiers were killed, and others were injured, attributed to the commanders’ inefficiency. The court heard that despite receiving intelligence about the impending attack, Maj Oluka and Maj Abor failed to plan and deter the assault.
Their act of running away from Al-Shabaab negatively impacted UPDF’s reputation, allowing the terrorist group to easily raid their forces.
Brig Freeman Mugabe, the army court chairman, highlighted the impact of their cowardice, resulting in the loss of soldiers and equipment. Maj Oluka faced additional charges, including offenses by a person in command during action.
Both commanders were dismissed from the UPDF but have the right to appeal within 14 days if dissatisfied with the sentence. The maximum punishment for cowardice in action is death or, in other circumstances, life imprisonment under the UPDF Act of 2005.