A 32-year-old soldier from the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) has been sentenced to one year in prison by the General Court Martial (GCM). Private Sam Ebong was found guilty of losing two bombs during a mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
The verdict was delivered on Monday, February 5, at the GCM in Makindye, Kampala. Brig. Gen. Robert Freeman Mugabe chaired the court proceedings.
Ebong pleaded guilty to the charge of failure to protect war materials, which is a violation of sections 122(1)(2)(e) of the UPDF Act, 2005. This offense carries a potential death penalty upon conviction.
In his ruling, Mugabe took into consideration Ebong’s guilty plea, his status as a first-time offender, his remorsefulness, youthfulness, and responsibilities towards his children and dependents. The court noted that Ebong had already spent seven months and seven days in remand. Considering mitigating factors, the court adjusted the sentence to one year of detention.
Gen. Mugabe advised Ebong that he had the right to appeal within 14 days if he disagreed with the court’s decision.
The prosecution, led by Lt Alex Mukhwana, Private Anthony Phillip Olupot, and Private Regina Nanzala, presented evidence that Ebong, while deployed under the East African Community Regional Forces (EACRF) in DR Congo, signed for a support weapon with six bombs. However, on June 24, 2023, during a routine check at Kiwanja UGACON 1 Headquarters, it was discovered that two bombs were missing from Ebong’s weapon.
Despite efforts to locate the missing bombs, they were not found. Ebong was subsequently arrested and charged with failure to protect war materials.
Captain Nsubuga Busagwa and Private Pricilla Kakande acted as Ebong’s legal representatives during the proceedings.