Former Ugandan commander denies sale of AMISOM fuel
THE former UPDF commander under African Union Mission to Somalia (AMISOM), Lt. Col. Benson Olanya has denied sale 720 litres of fuel. Olanya made the rebuttal on Thursday at the General Court Martial as he started his defense during his trial. Olanya, 52, is accused of diverting 420 litres and 300 litres of fuel, respectively, meant for his battalion’s operations.
Appearing before the Court Martial Chairman Maj. Gen. Levi Karuhanga, Olanya said he used the fuel for joint operations with the Somali National Army (SNA). “My Lord it is not true that I sold fuel. We held a joint operation with the SNA on 28th July 2013 where they requested us to help them with fuel so that they assemble their troops for the operation. I gave them 300 litres for that mission,” Olanya explained.
He added that he also gave 420 litres to one Somali civilian who had assisted his battalion camp with a generator. “Our generator got spoilt and I brought it to the attention of my battle group commander Col. Hassan Kimbowa who advised me to improvise because I could not leave my troops in the dark. I borrowed a generator and in exchange I was supposed to give fuel which I did,” Olanya noted.
Olanya also told court that the fuel he gave out was allocated to him as the battalion commander for his operations. “As the battalion commander, I was given 200 litres weekly for my personal operations. This fuel was not part of the battalion fuel,” Olanya told court. He also quoted the AMISOM pact signed by Uganda and Burundi which states that: “use any means with in your capability to give technical and other support for disarmament and stabilization effort.”
Court also heard that on June 21 and July 25 last year, while in Joa town in Somalia, Olanya diverted 420 litres and 300 litres of fuel, respectively, meant for his battalion’s operations. The prosecution team, through their seven witnesses, also told court that on June 9 last year, while executing his duties, Olanya ordered solders to issue arms to Somali civilians.
The case has been adjourned until November 17 when the defense will present a second witness. Olanya is currently detained at Makindye Military Police prison.