Crime & InvestigationSpecial Reports

EXCLUSIVE: Besigye Probed Over Rwenzori Rebel Movement


Sometime late this year, tadalafil former Defence Minister Crispus Kiyonga travelled to Kasese on a special mission.

Local authorities had tipped President Museveni that the Rwenzururu Kingdom was raising a fighting force of about 2, 000 militants.

The fighters were trained in using firearms, explosives and close combat action.

The training camps were skillfully hidden in the mountains overlooking Kasese Town.

The President was told that the militia’s main objective was to fight for the creation of Yiira Republic.

The Rwenzururu Kingdom, comprising the Bakonzo/Banande, Bamba and Basumba who occupy the three western districts of Kasese, Kabarole and Bundibugyo would unite with their tribesmates across Democratic Republic of Congo to form Yiira State.

Both Bakonzo and Banande belong to the Bayira community – a Bantu speaking people.


Those in Congo are located in the volatile North Kivu province with Butembo and Beni as their main towns.

According to researcher Edwin Mumbere Bayanda of Bayanda Agape Foundation, the Bakonzo claim to have been the first people to settle on Rwenzururu Mountains and believe to have been created by God just as Adam and Eve in Eden.

When word went around that preparations for a rebellion to create Yiira State were in the final stages, Kiyonga quickly mobilised security officials and called Rwenzururu Kingdom’s top shots for a meeting.

“Kiyonga and other security officials told representatives of King Mumbere to demobilize their fighting force and destroy the training camps,” said a local councillor who spoke to ChimpReports on condition of anonymity so as to speak freely.

“They (kingdom) were told to do away with the camps since people in the area were feeling insecure. However, the ‘Eshamango’ (literally translated as protectors of the kingdom) stood their ground saying whoever was not comfortable with them should attack them,” the source added.

The Ugandan government envoys left crestfallen.


A deeper investigation ensued, obtaining key intelligence information about the works of Rwenzururu militants.

The President was informed that Uganda’s opposition leader, Dr Besigye, was sponsoring King Mumbere’s activities.

Museveni was further told that Besigye had bought a new car for Mumbere. It was reported that a powerful FDC official was equally in touch with Mumbere’s wife.

Some of the improvised weapons found in the mountains
Some of the improvised weapons found in the mountains

The training and stockpiling of arms in the mountains continued throughout October and November.

Fearing Rwenzururu Kingdom would announce the formation of Yiira State hence kicking of a full blown rebellion, Museveni ordered military and police commanders to act.

The President also was concerned that a rebellion in the FDC stronghold of Kasese would embolden other areas to commence acts of resistance in the country.

As tension escalated over the militarist posturing of Rwenzururu Kingdom, two cops were slaughtered in Kasese Town by suspected Rwenzururu combatants.

“The attackers returned to Mumbere’s palace. No one came out to condemn it. Instead, Mumbere increased intelligence in town to tap on what people were saying,” said a high ranking source in Rwenzururu Kingdom.

The killing of the cops heightened anxiety in Kasese.

Civilians and Royal Guards openly referred to themselves as Majors or Captains. They introduced themselves as such in anticipation of war.

Mumbere has today been arrested and is expected to meet with President Museveni tonight
Mumbere has today been arrested and is expected to meet with President Museveni tonight


The military and police decided to take a preemptive action against Rwenzururu militants – first by raiding the training camps.

Several Royal Guards were killed in the mountains on Thursday.

“It was discovered they had knives, pangas, swords, axes, spears and locally made bombs to be used in the planned war,” said a local Councilor.

He said the locally made bombs comprised bottles filled with petrol and nails as ingredients.

On Friday night, the UPDF and police deployed heavily – surrounding Omusinga’s palace.

By Saturday morning, the security forces had withdrawn from the Palace.

They however redeployed at the King’s palace at around 10:00am. The police were reinforced with military personnel and armored fighting vehicles.

With their fingers on the trigger, security forces kept an eye on Mumbere’s guards.

As hugely expected, a Royal Guard opened fire at the police, commencing a deadly battle with security forces.

In a space of two hours, the exchange of gunfire left eight Royal Guards dead.

Upon learning about the death of their colleagues, the Royal Guards quickly mobilized and attacked isolated police stations in different sub-counties.

In Maliba sub-county, the guards killed two police officers. In Kisinga, three police officers were shot dead, bringing the number of the killed cops to five.

In Ibanda, Bugoye sub-county, when the Royal Guards attacked the sub-county police, four guards were killed.

This was confirmed by the Police spokesperson for Rwenzori East, Mansulu Ssewedi.

He said the police and UPDF remain heavily deployed to contain the situation.

Warning Besigye

Informed sources say Besigye could be asked to explain his alleged links to Rwenzururu.

President Museveni early this year told leaders of Rwenzori region he would not allow any secessionist plans in Uganda.

“I want to state categorically, that Uganda will not lose even a piece of her land to the creation of the so-called Yiira republic and whoever wants that republic should create it outside Uganda’s territory,” warned Museveni in a meeting attended by Kasese lawmaker, Winnie Kiiza.

“Even Besigye who promised it, if he became President and made that mistake, he would not sleep in State House that day,” he added.

“This country has some people who fought for it to be what it is and no one should even dream about taking part of its territory to form a new republic.”

Besigye has previously denied supporting the creation of Yiira Republic.

Responding to President Museveni’s remarks, Besigye vehemently denied ever harboring such an idea.

He said in a tweet, “Something is seriously wrong with Mr Museveni! I’ve never, neither anyone I know, has promised Yiira Republic.”

By Sunday, at least 41 Royal Guards and 14 security officers were confirmed dead – bringing the death toll in the Rwenzori clashes to 55.

Conflict resolution

According to lawyer Edgar Tabaro, government needs to address production.

“Create industry to pull people away from the land. Land pressures plus fusion of veterans with cultural issues yet cultural institution can’t guarantee livelihoods. Then politicians seeking to snatch at a bargain fuelling all this,” said Tabaro.

Asked if he were surprised by the fighting, Tabaro, who has agricultural projects in Kabarole District, observed: “It has been brewing. From low intensity to medium to full blown. If you follow local radio stations it has been on for a while.”

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