UPDF commander demands Shs 600M over defamation story

UPDF commander demands Shs 600M over defamation story
Major Travers Kibuuka, the commander of the 71st UPDF battalion.

Gulu, Uganda | URN | Major Travers Kibuuka, the commander of the 71st UPDF battalion, is demanding at least Shillings 600 million from Daily Express, an online media platform, and Amacha Goli, for a story that he says has defamed him.

On March 17th, 2023, Daily Express published a story in which two women accused Maj. Kibuuka of torture, resulting in broken legs and arms, respectively.

The article followed an arson attack on Easter Sunday that left 14 houses burnt to ashes. Sources from the Acholi community, who preferred to speak on condition of anonymity, told the reporter that some of the attackers were beaten by people whose houses were burnt and were rescued by the army before they were taken to the police.

In an intention to sue notice to the Daily Express and Goli, seen by our reporter, the UPDF Officer wants the online media publication to take down the stories, including those alleging that he has been frequently visiting Ngoro East with the intent of grabbing 300 acres of land for an Indian investor.

Maj. Kibuuka, through his lawyer Conrad Oroya of Conrad Oroya and Co Advocates, said the online publication also published articles claiming that he is a masquerader purported to be on a State House mission to pacify the Apaa area. He observed that the online media publication also claims that ever since he was deployed in Apaa, the rate of illegal land sales shot up.

Maj. Kibuuka says the publications were not only untrue but unsubstantiated with evidence and were intended to disrupt and lower his reputation in the eyes of right-thinking members of the public, including his appointing authorities. The articles portray him as corrupt, a thief, a bandit, and a polluter of the ecosystem.

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Through his lawyer, Kibuuka is demanding 600 million shillings as damages for injuries to his reputation, caused by the false, malicious, and defamatory publications, an apology, the withdrawal of the publications from online, and payment of 50 million shillings as court costs.

Efforts to get comments from Amaca Goli were futile as our repeated phone calls went unanswered. Apaa has been at the center of violent attacks leading to injuries and loss of lives and properties, primarily between the Acholi and Madi communities, who are disputing over land ownership and the boundary between Amuru and Adjumani districts.