Former Uganda rebel commanders return from exile



Today at the Media Centre, the chieftaincy of military intelligence (CMI) Chief Brig Charles Bakahumura announced the return of two former rebels of the People’s Redemption Army (PRA) from exile.

Major Tom Mugizi and Mr. Micheal Kakooza had gone into exile in South Africa.

Prior to goingo into exile, Mr. Kakooza was a business man and strong opposition supporter for the FDC while Major Mugizi was an intelligence officer in UPDF attached to the Mbarara second division.

The two of them had left Uganda and gone into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) from whence they joined the PRA and worked under the late Col. Edson Muzoora, Col. Samson Mande (Sweden) and Col. Anthony Kyakabale who recently returned to Uganda from Sweden.

While addressing the media today, Major Mugizi said that he left Uganda in 2001 because his life was in danger.

“My life was being threatened by Brig Noble Mayombo and Maj James Kazini but up to now I don’t know why. It is unfortunate that both died but I think the threat is no longer here,” he said.

“But I was welcomed back peacefully and I want to contribute to my nation.”

Meanwhile, Mr. Kakooza said he too left because he had been linked to rebels in 2004 by security agencies and even arrested.  Once he got released, he left the country.

“In 2004 I was falsely accused. Then they found I was innocent and I was released but my life continued under threat and I also escaped and went into self-imposed exile in South Africa, “he said.

“I assure everyone who is threatened to return home because they are welcome. Nobody can threaten them. Even those errant UPDF officers who deserted the army are warmly welcome,” he said.

The existence of the PRA has always been a contentious issue but the Ugandan government says it did exist and operated in the jungles of DRC.

In 2005, Dr. Kizza Besigye was arrested with the charge of being the leader of the PRA rebel group.

This lead to mass riots and demonstrations with his supporters saying the government was making up a rebel group just to ensure he did not run for presidency in the 2006 presidential elections.

During the returned rebel presentation, Brig Bakahumura also invited all former rebels who are in exile to return home.

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