At least 14 members of a suspected rebel outfit have allegedly surrendered to the Ugandan government. The rebels are said to belong to the Cooperative for the Development of Congo CODECO rebel outfit, mainly led by the Lendu ethnic tribe in the Democratic Republic of Congo DRC.
The rebel outfit last month launched an attack on a Uganda People’s Defense Forces UPDF base in Zeu Sub County Zombo district, killing one UPDF soldier and wounding three others while seven of the attackers were put out of action.
The suspected rebels were handed over to the deputy director general of the Internal Security Organisation ISO, Lt Col Emmy Katabazi, for rehabilitation as they prepare to return to the communities.
Two hand hoes were given to each of the returnees to start a new life as they wait for a special resettlement package from the government. Lt Col Katabazi while receiving the rebel returnees implored the local leadership of the two sister districts of Nebbi and Zombo to offer a conducive environment and call back the rest of the young people who were hoodwinked to join subversive activities in DR Congo.
A total of close to 17 rebels have so far surrendered to the government of Uganda following the previous attack on another army detach in Oduk village Zombo town council Zombo district in March last year, in which 5 UPDF soldiers and close to 25 attackers were killed and close to 23 of the rebels arrested in the aftermath of the attack. The local leaders of the two districts have however raised a red flag over inadequate security personnel lack of transport and poor infrastructure, which are all foiling their attempts to trace the suspects.
Robert Abak, the Nebbi Resident District Commissioner says it was difficult for detectives to pursue the rebels due to limited personnel and that traversing the over 86km porous border points on foot has affected their surveillance during both the first and second attacks.
“Personnel we have on ground, the UPDF and police and the GISOs are very thin but we have porous border whose stretch is about 86km with only two gazzeted border points. You find it hard to trace these rebels as people equally cross through the porous ungazzeted points”. RDC said.
The Member of Parliament Ora constituency Lawrence Songa says there is need to equip and increase funds to the Community Driven Development Projects to keep the young people busy so that their minds are not diverted into such rebellious activities.
“Many young people have being lured into subversive activities just because they do not have were to earn from, and in this they end up grabbing people’s property.” Meanwhile, Major Asiimwe Martha, the head of RDCs in the office of the President warns that they are have not achieved much from the routine security reports which have never yield any fruit.
“We no longer trust the bureaucracy. Bureaucracy can no longer work if you have failed to handle then we shall come as a team and detonate it, we are tired of your quarterly and monthly reports which do not give a very good feedback.”
COVER PHOTO: Some of the rebels shortly after being received by security and local leaders in Nebbi and Zombo districts. Photo by Federick Dramadri.