NEBBI. At least four Zombo rebel group members who participated in attacking soldiers at the Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) detach at Koch in Nebbi district have been pardoned by the Uganda Amnesty Commission.

This is after the rebels surrendered to the Nebbi district security team on Wednesday.

The four have been identified as; Alfred Ngambirombo, 42, Oloya Santos, 42, Onyutha Patrick, 65 and Pitua Alfred, 40.

The rebels were part of the group belonging to Uganda Homeland Liberation Force (UHLF) that attacked the Nebbi UPDF barracks with pangas in April this year with the aim of getting guns.

The UHLF rebels have continued to attack soldiers in different barracks in Zombo district with the recent incident being early last month.

However, security officials in Nebbi said during the April attempt on the barracks in Nebbi, UPDF soldiers managed to repel the rebels, leading to the arrest of their leader and some of his followers before they could get the targeted guns.

Mr Cajutan Onenatho, the ringleader of the gang and others are now facing treason charges.

Mr Robert Abak, the Nebbi Resident District Commissioner (RDC) said on noticing that their leader was captured, the group scampered out of fear. He said as a result, one of them committed suicide.

The RDC noted that from that time, his office started mobilizing different stakeholders on radios to talk to the rebels to return home.

“Since June, I have so far received four returnees whom I handed over to the Amnesty Commission on Wednesday and they were pardoned and reunited with their families,” he said

Abak said the four testified that they were deceived that they were going to do construction work in Democratic Republic of Congo only to get themselves being recruited as UHLF rebels.

Alfred Ngambirombo, 42, one of the pardoned rebels also a resident of Aryek village said he was convinced by a one Geoffrey Angala that he was going to work but on reaching Panduruma in DRC, they were taken to a witch doctor who demanded for shs15m before the group of the recruits could be fortified for the fight a head.

“When I heard that Angala was arrested, I decided to escape and ran back but I couldn’t reach home for fear of being arrested. So, I moved to different places doing casual labour for survival until I heard the RDC on radio requesting us to come back home and that is why I returned,” Nyambirombo narrated.

Meanwhile Alex Judagi, the LCIII chairperson Nyaravur sub-county said they organized a meeting with Cajutan and others last year in which they all denied being involved in any rebel activities.

Judagi observed that during the meeting, elders and chiefs cursed the group that if they are involved in rebel activities, they should either be killed or be arrested, a curse he said has now come to pass.

“I am not surprised that all these people are mentioning his name because Cajutan has been involved in rebel activities before and he was given amnesty when he returned from West Nile Bank Front,” Judagi added.

Moses Draku, the spokesperson of Uganda Amnesty Commission said those who have willingly surrendered will be documented and given an amnesty certificate so that they are protected from any persecution because they chose peace over violence.