President Museveni has today Thursday arrived in Birembo, Kibaale district – a historic area for the National Resistance Army (NRA) which took power in 1986.
“We are now here,” said Museveni on arrival, adding, “This is great.”
LaxHe is accompanied by deputy police boss Maj Gen Sabiiti Muzeeyi; ICT Minister Judith Nabakooba; Finance Minister Matia Kasaija and NRA historicals led by Gen Elly Tumwiine among others.
In a brief meeting with senior government officials on arrival, it emerged that the team walked about 90kms from Galamba in Wakiso district.
Whenever darkness set in before arriving at designated campsites, trekkers would boarded buses.
Museveni also had to be chauffeured whenever he had to address dozens of groups of supporters waiting along the road.
Live: @KagutaMuseveni arrives in Birembo – a historic area for NRA in Kibaale district. This marks the end of a 195km trek which started from Galamba in Wakiso district this past Saturday #AfrikaKwetu pic.twitter.com/L1DfyJNqcu
— ChimpReports (@ChimpReports) January 9, 2020
The arrival in Birembo marks the end of Afrika Kwetu trek which officials say was aimed at honouring the “heroic acts” of NRA combatants.
Gen Tumwiine did not hide his excitement, saying “the journey is done.”
Despite being knackered, Museveni’s face beamed with joy and satisfaction as he took a seat in a reserved tent.
Nabakooba observed: “Finally, we are here.”
Before the storming of Kabamba Barracks in January, 1985, Museveni split the attack force into two groups.
Salim Saleh’s force attacked Kabamba while Museveni led another team that engaged UNLA in smaller battles to divert their attention from the core objective – attacking Kabamba to loot arms.
On December 28, 1984, a force from the UNLA in Bukomero attacked Museveni’s team as Saleh’s advanced to Kabamba. To Museveni, the deception was doing wonders.
A total of 650 rifles, mortars, machine-guns, ammunition were captured from Kabamba.
The UNLA counter-offensive, now led by Ogole and Odwar, tried to make Saleh drop the guns by incessant attacks: at Hapuuyo and Kabamba itself.
Museveni recalled that the inconvenience for the Saleh group was that they were heavy–laden because they were the fighters to repulse Ogole and Odwar and at the same time carry the heavy loads of weapons.
“Their double-burden: fight and carry,” said Museveni.
He said the urgent tasks then were to relieve the fighters of the burden of carrying and to expand the fighting force by arming the unarmed (the commandoes) hence the link-up at Birembo.
When Museveni’s team joined with the Saleh’s below Birembo Primary School, he said he did not like their campsite in the valley – on the banks of Nkusi River. The Bunyoro vegetation at that time was very thick with narrow paths that were like tunnels under the massed and intertwined vegetation.
With people carrying heavy loads, that was a disaster waiting to happen.
Museveni ordered that fighters move out of the valley and camp at Birembo Primary School where the road was wide and the Bulungi-bwansi roads were also wide and open enough.
The issue there, according to Museveni was not concealment, but “ease of mobility for the vast heavy-laden column.”
On January 10, the force moved out of the valley and started camping at the school.
At around 1000 hours, however, Ogole and Odwar launched a heavy artillery bombardment and a ground attack.
NRA repulsed the attacks but the artillery killed three fighters and injured another two who died later.
The battle had gone on for the whole day.
Some of the shells hit near Museveni’s trench, injuring one of his close bodyguards.
In the night, however, NRA pulled out and by morning, they were quite far, heading for Nkooko and Ntwetwe