By Andrew Irumba
Kampala: A Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) deserter has been arrested over allegations of gun theft and being involved in armed robbery.
Lance Corporal James Okoli Opio, a deserter from the 39th UPDF Battalion in Bombo, is detained at Soroti police station for alleged theft of a firearm, which he is suspected to have been using in armed robberies. The East Kyoga Region Police Spokesperson Michael Odongo said that “The suspect was picked from his hideout at St. Pius Vocational Training Institute, staff quarters in Moruapesur ward in Eastern Division, in Soroti Municipality, with a gun and 116 rounds of ammunition.”
Odongo added that “The gun registration number 49009796 went missing from Soroti Military barracks on May 31, 2019 where the suspect was staying with his friend Lance Corporal. Frank Nsimbire. The suspect took advantage of Nsimbire’s absence to steal the gun. Nsimbire was taken to the 3rd division Barracks in Mbale last week for interrogations.” Odongo also revealed that the police have been able to recover three sub machine guns within a space of three months.
Capt. Albert Arinaitwe, the UPDF Third Division Spokesperson, says the suspect deserted the Army last year. He revealed that Opio will appear before the court martial on charges of desertion and illegal possession of fire arm when investigations are completed.