By Mariam Baguma
President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has praised the people of Sebei subregion for their role in defeating the Save Uganda forces – a rebel movement that had surfaced in the area between 2012 and 2017.
The remarks came during an orientation, training and commissioning session for NRM mobilisers organised and facilitated by the Babalanda led team from the Kyambogo office of the NRM National Chairman [ONC] where the three districts of Kapchorwa, Kwen and Bukwo were represented.
Also present were members from the different security organs led by the Regional Police Commander Commissioner Mbabazi who assured the area was free from any security threats heading into the election period.
Museveni’s message was read by his Personal Assistant Milly Babirye Babalanda who also served as the key note speaker for the day where he noted that their cooperation with security forces had served to avert an unnecessary blood shed which would have claimed many innocent lives.
He promised that his Government shall at all times work tirelessly to ensure optimum security as a conduit for development in the country.
On her part, Babalanda tipped the Coordinators on hard work, and transparency since the duty given to them was a voluntary one.
She also tasked them to endeavor marketing party Presidential Candidate Yoweri Kaguta Museveni while also preaching the 4 core values of NRM which are; patriotism, pan Africanism, Democracy and social transformation.
The group was officially commissioned to spearhead the village based door to door model where subordinate mobilisation structure would follow from the district to village level.
The Save Uganda Forces rebels popped up at the start of 2012 where hundreds of youths were mobilised by a one Julius Chelimo with the goal of causing regime change.
Chelimo is a former UPDF officer who had left the force disappointed and opted to preach rebellion to the young people in the area resultantly forming a rebel movement.
They started by attacking the Regional Police Headquarters in Kapchorwa town and took off with a number of military hardware. They would later on set up bases in the Elgin National park from where they continued terrorising the population.
Around 2017, the Government engaged the group and offered amnesty to it’s leader and many of the fighters amnesty which paved the way for the return of relative peace in the area.
Ephraim Denis Balwanirawa – the Residential District Commissioner for Kwen however says that by the time the group sought amnesty, it had been fought by the national army to near extinction.
He says there has over time been a reemergence of hostilities from the group, occasionally attacking and killing people in the area and stealing animals and selling them across the Kenyan boarder to fund their subversion.
Sometime last year, the group is believed to have hacked and burnt to ashes one person believed to have been a member of their criminal gang. He was reportedly accused of selling arms they had kept with him. The operation was reportedly led by a one Joshua who was believed to have taken over the leadership of the rebel out fit.
Joshua has since been arrested over an armed murder in Kapchorwa and the case was taken over by UPDF since it involved the use of guns.
Region security leaders have resolved to pacify the Elgon National park where their operate criminal bases according to Balwanirawa.