The Fourth Division Court Martial has started trying a former street kid accused of recruiting and training criminal gangs in Nwoya District.
Court heard that Dickens Peter Okwir aged 35, and his co-accused David Anywar aged 22, recruited and trained a total of 32 youth in military drills contrary to Section 48(1) (a & b) of the Penal Code Act. The trained youth are suspected of constituting criminal gangs recruited from Gulu City.
The prosecution told the court on Monday afternoon at the Fourth Division Barracks in Gulu City that Okwir was training the youth at Gen. Charles Otema Awany’s farm located in Purongo Sub –County in Nwoya District in January this year and recorded the video of the youth during the military drills.
Meanwhile, Okwir denied any wrongdoing saying the youths were taken to Nwoya to plant trees on a farm of a man identified as Tom Olam, which is neighboring Gen. Otema’s farm.
According to Okwir, the 32 youth are part of the street gangs he is trying to help reform under his Community-Based Organization (CBO), though he declined to mention its name to the court. Okwir attested to having filmed the youth while in possession of bows and arrows and captioning the video “Museveni’s generation, don’t mess with the boys” before sharing it on his social media platforms.
He also revealed to the court that the bows and arrows were given to them by the farm owner to defend themselves against a section of Alur community who allegedly keep attacking the farm.
He says he has no intention of terrorizing the locals of Gulu City and that he has been working with the security forces to arrest a number of hardcore criminals in Gulu.
Captain Augustine Tumwebaze, the Prosecutor asked the court to adjourn the case to enable them to conclude their investigation into the matter before future mention and trials can begin.
Colonel George Nambafu, the Chairman of the Fourth Division Court Martial remanded the duo to Gulu Central Prison until March 9th this year when they will reappear in court.
According to Section 48(2) of the Penal Code Act, any person who, at any meeting or assembly held without the permission of the Minister, is trained or drilled to use arms or the practice of military exercises, movements or evolutions, or who is present at any such meeting or assembly for the purpose of being so trained or drilled, commits an offense and is liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding five years.
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