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Humanitarian Workers Denounce Uganda Executions - 2002-03-26

Irish humanitarian and human rights workers are condemning Monday's execution of two Ugandan soldiers who were convicted last week of killing an Irish priest.

On Tuesday, Father Joseph Jones, of the St. Joseph's Society for Foreign Missions, said the executed soldiers were likely acting on the orders of superior officers when they killed Father Declan O'Toole. Father Jones said higher-ranking officers should be punished if there is evidence the army was involved in the killing.

The two low-ranking soldiers were convicted of killing Father O'Toole and two other people last Thursday in Uganda's northeastern Karamoja region. They were then executed by firing squad before a crowd of several hundred people.

Father O'Toole had denounced an aggressive campaign by the Ugandan army to disarm local residents of the Karamoja region where gun ownership is widespread.

Father O'Toole had accused the army of torturing residents suspected of gun possession.

(BBC, Reuters)