ZOMBO. Security agencies have attributed the recent attack on a Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) detach in Zombo district to a new rebel outfit.
They said Uganda Homeland Liberation Force (UHLF), a new rebel group is led by one, Howard Upenjuru of Zombo district.
Mr Andrew Kajoyingi, the resident district commissioner (RDC) Zombo disclosed during a press briefing held at Daudi Court in Paidha town on Sunday evening that the raid left at least 5 UPDF soldiers dead.
He revealed that 22 members of the UHLF were killed by the UPDF during the two day battle while 35 of them were captured and later airlifted to Kampala for interrogation.
According to Kajoyingi, the rebels numbering to over 200 were armed with traditional weapons like bows and arrows, pangas and knives among others.
He said their preliminary findings indicate that members of the UHLF had their training ground and planning area in Kiryadongo district subject to verification by the area district security team.
The RDC said the UHLF recruits comprising the indigenous Alur and the Lendu from the Democratic Republic of Congo were ferried to their training ground under the pretext of being casual labourers.
"These youths were secretly picked from here that they were going to work in some coffee plantation in Kiryadongo and little we knew that there would be such a subversive movement in the district", he said.
He said according to a post on Upenjuru's Facebook page, he intends to overthrow the government for reasons best known to himself.
He said Upenjuru who is in his late 40s promised his recruits and fighters shs500,000 each upon a successful battle.
The RDC assured the population that the situation had been brought under control as the UPDF dominates the area now.
"Let our people return home because there is no more threat to their lives", he assured.
He commended the DRC government in the Ituru province for heeding to the Uganda government's call to seal their borders at Mahagi and Jalasiga at short notice to quickly contain the situation.
The Prime Minister Alur kingdom, Mr Vincent Orach Ocaya described the act as barbaric and stressing adding that it does not define what the Alur people stand for which is peaceful coexistence.
"This is a shock to the Alur kingdom and whoever is found guilty of engineering this act must be brought to book in accordance with the law", he said.
Ocaya said Alur kingdom stands for peace and empowerment of the youths who must be supported but not lured into criminal activities.
Mr Simone D'Ujanga, the state minister for energy and the area Member of Parliament condemned the act which according to him is detrimental to the social and economic development of the area.
"We condemn this act which is the first of its kind and we want our people to be more vigilant to report suspicious activities in their areas", he said.
Ms Grace Freedom Kwiyocwiny, the state minister for Northern Uganda and woman Member of Parliament Zombo district similarly condemn the act and implored the people to take full charge of their own security as the government does its part.
She urged the youths to take advantage of the various government programs for their economic growth in a bid to avoid falling prey to unlawful deeds that endangers their wellbeing and security.
"We have a lot of programs that the youths can capture to better their lives without getting into trouble of this nature", she said.
Kwiyocwiny said they regret the lives of the UPDF soldiers lost in the battle as well as that of the attackers.
Mr Lawrence Biyika Songa, the chairperson West Nile parliamentary caucus and also Member of Parliament Ora County implored members of the UHLF to look for a more peaceful and appropriate means to address their discontents instead of resorting to rebellion that has disastrous effect on the social and economic development of the people.
He tasked the government to consider working on the border road network to ease movement and response to emergency.
"The government should consider giving priority to our roads because our borders are porous coupled with poor roads that make movements difficult in case such a scenario arises", he said.
Upenjuru believed to be in his late 40s, went to St Aloysius College Nyapea before joining university of West of England, Bristol where he attained Master's degree in mechanical engineering in 2007.
Upenjuru was in 2018 arrested by security agencies in connection with subversive activities and subjected to court martial.
He is said to have jumped bail and his where about remains scanty.