Five people accused of vandalizing electricity infrastructure have appeared before the Mbarara Chief Magistrates court on terror charges.
The suspects are Edgar Tashobya and Samuel Tumusiime, both residents of Nyakabungo cell, Kaiika-Rutagarama Mbarara, Innocent Mwekambe of Kitwe Cell, Kgongo Ward, Ibanda Municipality, Richard Atusasire, an electrician and resident of Rushambya cell, Ishongororo Ibanda district, and Johnson Mutaho alias Mwine, a technician with Umeme and resident of Katete Central Ward, Nyamitanga in Mbarara City.
They were charged before the Mbarara Chief Magistrate Benjamin Seruwo with one count of terrorism contrary to Section 7 (2) (a) of the Anti-Terrorism Act 2002, which attracts a death penalty upon conviction.
It provides that; “A person commits an act of terrorism who, for purposes of influencing the Government or intimidating the public or a section of the public and for a political, religious, social, or economic aim, indiscriminately without due regard to the safety of others or property..”
The prosecution alleges that on January 10th, 2023 while in Butenga II village, Kishuro parish, Birere sub-county in Isingiro district, the accused interfered with electricity infrastructure, which resulted in disruptions of the provision of essential services.
Seruwo didn’t allow the accused persons to plead to the charges, saying his court lacks jurisdiction on capital offences. He remanded the accused to prison until February 1, 2023, when they will appear in court for mention of their case.
The five were arrested by Crime Intelligence from Mbarara with two vehicles that they were allegedly using to vandalize electricity infrastructure.
Last year, several electricity pylons and poles were destroyed in different parts of the country by unknown persons for unknown reasons.