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Uganda: We blew up vehicles to fight government, says Museveni

President Museveni has revealed that his National Resistance Army (NRA) rebels planted landmines on Hoima Road and blew up vehicles carrying people until the road became impassable and the Obote government closed it.

“Here in Bukomero, we had a number of battles and many campaigns. One of the campaigns was to close [off] Hoima Road [and] make it not usable.

And the method we used was to plant landmines until the enemy [government soldiers] feared to move on this Hoima Road and it became closed,” Mr Museveni said on Monday at Bukomero Trading Centre in Kiboga District during his trek of the Bush War trail.

The President, who was addressing trekkers in the 195km walk, said Bukomero was a key area in the armed struggle where he and other guerrilla fighters planned and attacked the ‘enemy.’

“One of the first ambushes was led by [Gen] Elly Tumwine on February 18 [year not mentioned] at a place called Kyekubya that is towards Kiboga where we blasted a Tanzanian lorry and the people who were there. Plus these other anti-vehicle operations,” President Museveni said.

He also said it is Bukomero where Gen Elly Tumwine [current security minister] lost his eye in battle.

“Then there was also [an] attack on Bukomero here, where Elly Tumwine lost his eye. It was here in Bukomero.

At that time I was outside [the country]. It was on the first of November [year not mentioned]. He had come to attack Bukomero but was injured and lost his eye.

That time we didn’t have doctors who were staying with us, so they had to carry him up to Kampala,” Mr Museveni added.

He said the rebels lacked doctors but had allies at Mulago National Referral Hospital in Kampala where they would send the injured fighters for treatment by their collaborating doctors.

“We had some doctors who were with us at Mulago. Dr Ndawula Lukanga, Dr Stanley Tumwine, [among others] were there.

We would take patients and they would be able to attend to them and then they come back,” President revealed during the sojourn at Bukomero during yesterday’s 12km walk which ended at Ndirwere in Buwanga Sub-county in Kiboga District late evening.

The six-day trek will take the trekkers through 195km between Galamba in Masuulita, Wakiso District where it began to Bireembo in Kakumiro District where it will end.

The walk started on Saturday at about 10.45am and has seen the trekkers make three stopovers in the past three days.

The first stopover was made at Bukatira in Nakaseke District. The second was at Bukomero in Kiboga District yesterday.

The President would proceed and pitch camp at Ndirwere in Buwanga Sub-county in Kiboga last evening.

The State Minister for Tourism, Mr Godfrey Kiwanda, said people who have not participated in the walk missed out on the changes in areas where the war was fought.

“You have missed to [have a] feel or see the economic growth registered [in these areas] since the war ended.

We notice that people have since constructed better housing facilities, and have better farm lands and improved road network. This place was initially a bush,” Mr Kiwanda said.

On why they are going through seven districts and end in Bireembo, Mr Kiwanda said: “Reason for going to Bireembo is because the fighters based at Bireembo to attack Kabamba [Barracks].”

“We started from Galamba because in 1985, President summoned the rebels while there so that they could engage government in negotiations.

However, one of the officers that was sent as a representative in the negotiations was killed by government,” Mr Kiwanda added.

“So after that government killed him, the fighters resolved to intensify the fighting. A group of about 1,500 fighters set off, went through Bukatira, Semuto and crossed River Mayanja to Kapeeka, Kakinga, Masiriba, Bukomero, and Kyamusisi,” he said.

The minister said when the NRA fighters (now Uganda People’s Defence Forces) reached Kyamusisi, they suffered a setback because they were identified.

It was at this point that they split into two groups. One group was led by now Gen Salim Saleh, and the other was led by his elder brother and rebel leader Gen Museveni.

“This was a tactical move meant to make it hard for government that wanted to track and defeat the rebels.

The government army followed Museveni while the other group went to Kabamba. Later, government was shocked to learn Kabamba had been attacked and that is how rebels attained the heavy ammunition,” Mr Kiwanda said.

Day three
At the start of yesterday, the Director of National Leadership Institute Kyankwanzi, Brig Kyomukama Kasula, announced that they would cover 12km which would include climbing Katere and Kagogo hills before pitching camp at Ndirwere in Buwanga.

“We are going to climb two hills and we shall camp at Katera Pentecostal Church [for the night].

I would, therefore, like to caution everyone in the trek to be careful,” Brig Kasula said.

“I am suggesting whoever is not sure of his or her physical fitness not go over the hills but use the other route,” he added.

“We have so far two challenges. Some people are undisciplined and not patient.

I would advise that you [people in the trek] sparingly eat what you have,” Brig Kasula said.

By Daily Monitor

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