Over 80 community members of Alingiri Village, Nyamukino Parish in Nwoya district were still in shock last Monday having survived gun shots that were fired by an errant soldier during a church service the previous day.
Corporal Moses Kabureba attached to the 4th Division, allegedly acting under the influence of alcohol, fired several rounds of ammunition during a church service in Alingiri Village after the presiding pastor turned down his demand to let him preach to the congregation.
Although no one was killed or injured in the scuffle, the incident forced dozens of faithfuls to run for dear life. Among those that run away was a 9 year-old girl identified as Winnie Akello, whose whereabouts were by the time of this report still unknown.
Corporal Kabureba was among the soldiers deployed in the area for security reasons. According to eyewitnesses, when Pastor Mark Okello of Baptist Church declined his offer to preach to the congregation, the soldier reportedly became aggressive and shot four times aimlessly.
This sent the congregation of over 50 people, some of them carrying children, scattered into different directions with a girl still missing. The pastor escaped unharmed together with other members of the congregation.
According to David Aranya, the LC1 chairman of Alingiri Village, the errant soldier was tactfully disarmed by a brave resident identified as Robert Odong who wrestled with the soldier.
The heroic act of Odong effectively averting a potential catastrophe that could have ended in the death of innocent lives.
The gun was later handed over to Karuma Pakwach Highway Police who arrested and detained the soldier at Nwoya Police Station.
Daniel Okello, the Nwoya district police commander, who also joined the team in the community in search of the missing girl confirmed the arrest of the errant soldier adding that: “We picked up the soldier and he is in our custody but I have now joined the community in search for the girl. We don’t know whether she run and hid in the bush or is with a relative somewhere. We can’t draw any conclusion now whether she is alive or not.”
Okello added that the police are holding the suspect until the authority at the 4th Division pick him up and transfer him to their custody.
“We are holding him here because he is suspected to have committed a criminal offense and police handles such cases. We are liaising with the 4th division to see how he can be tried in a court. Up to now, we have not yet got any feedback from the 4th division but if required, he will be transferred for trial in a division court martial. “Explained the DPC.
Lt. Hasan Kato, the 4th division Public Relations Officer (PRO) told this reporter this morning that they have confirmed that a soldier was arrested and is being detained at Nwoya Police Station.
He described it as unfortunate: “That shooting spree was unfortunate. We have a joint intelligence with police to investigate the motive of the shooting but what we know is that he was drunk. We are arranging to bring him to 4th Division headquarters. He can either be tried in our court martial or normal court depending on the outcomes of the investigation,” said Kato.