12 suspected rebels surrender to UPDF in Zombo

Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) . PHOTO/FILE/COURTESY

At least 12 members of a suspected rebel outfit group that attacked a Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) detach in Zeu Sub-county, Zombo District, last month have allegedly surrendered to the security forces.

A section of the rebels reportedly denounced rebellion against the government and surrendered to the UPDF citing unbearable life in the bushes of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

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Subsequently, they were handed over to the deputy director general of the Internal Security Organisation, Lt Col Emmy Katabazi, for rehabilitation as they prepare to return to the communities.

Speaking after receiving the rebels on Tuesday, Col Katabazi appealed to local leaders to mobilise members of the community to promote peace and development.

“It is time to get mentally liberated. We should guard the communities from being manipulated by wrong people to destabilise development. The destiny of the citizens in our communities is in our hands,” he said.

As part of the process of rehabilitation, each member who surrendered was given two hoes to help them engage in farming.

From the first attack on the UPDF detach last year in March, about 17 of the rebels have since surrendered.

However, those surrendering are providing conflicting information about which rebel group they belonged to.

Some say they are members of Uganda Homeland Movement (UHLM), headed by Mr Howard Openjuru, while others say they are members of Cooperative for the Development of Congo (CODECO), mainly led by the Lendu ethnic tribe in DRC.

The attack by the rebel groups has caused panic among communities in Zombo District, which had been peaceful for decades.

The Nebbi Resident District Commissioner, Mr Robert Abak, said on Tuesday that the district leaders of Zombo and Nebbi need to remain focused and work towards the betterment of security to ensure that there is peace in the communities.

Former Zombo District Woman MP and State minister for Northern Uganda Grace Kwiyucwiny said: “We need to sensitise people that this is not time for war. Northern Uganda and West Nile Sub-region have lagged behind because of war. This is the time for youth to protect and build their country. Youths should not be deceived by people who are fighting for their own interests.”

Three weeks ago, at least 20 men disguising as forest workers invaded UPDF detach in Zombo district, killing a UPDF soldier and injured three. 

Following a pursuit, the UPDF soldiers killed six of the attackers in the jungles of Lendu forest at the border with DR Congo. Some of the attackers escaped back to their base in the DR Congo.

This article first appeared on Daily Monitor

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