Former ADF abductees want Govt compensation

ADF Soldiers

Six people, who were abducted by rebels from Allied Democratic Force (ADF) in Kagadi and Kikuube districts, have asked government through Amnesty Commission to compensate them for their persecution and loss of their property.

This was during a one day Amnesty Commission workshop at Nuer Guest House in Kagadi town council recently.

The former abductees include Mary Kyaligonza, 28, of Kyamburara village in Kyangwali sub-county Kikuube district, Odira Ahaisibwe, 32, of Yorudani village in Rugashali subcounty, Kagadi district and Mary Twikirize, 35, of Yorudani village in Kagadi district. Others are Harriet Niwasiima, 26, of Izahura village, Rugashali subcounty, Kennedy Mugisha 30, of Rugashali town board and Faibu Uwimana, 29, of Kavule village, Bukinda Parish-Kyangwali sub-county Kikuube district.

Thomas Monsignor Kisembo, a commissioner in the Amnesty Commission, Western region, comforted them and said over 20,000 former ADF abductees were compensated with sh263,000 as their package in Kaseese. He said the programme will continue to cover other victims. According to their claim through Amnesty Commission staff, they were abducted in early 2000 from their villages and underwent all forms of humiliation, torture, forced labour and forced marriages.

They also had bullet scars to show as evidence of their tribulations in Bugoma Forest and Congo forest jungles. Mugisha, one of the abductees said he was captured from Rugashali when he was12 years old and taken to Rwenzori mountains where he stayed for over four years before he was taken to the Congo forests for more 10 years.

“They tortured me for over four years under the leadership of Jamil Mukulu with whom we stayed when I attempted to escape twice from Congo forest and Rwenzori mountains. I was subjected to canes and starvation for some days. I was made to carry heavy materials as we shifted to new places. I was even shot in the leg,” he said.

Twikirize said she was 17 years old when she was abducted. Two of her relatives were killed during the rebel incursions in Kibaale district. She stayed with the ADF rebels for four years, before escaping from Bugoma forest.

“I would carry heavy materials like guns, electrical appliances, cook for them food and wash their clothes. I escaped when they were engaged by UPDF in a forest battle in Bugoma in Hoima district,” she said.

Kyaligonza and Ahaisibwe said they were also abducted in 2000 and stayed in the jungles of Congo for two years. He said they were made to carry heavy guns, food and placed at the front line in the battle. Kisembo, however, asked them to get a certificate, indicating that they are victims of the incursion and must also be registered with security authorities in the district.

“I am going to contact relevant authorities to ensure you are compensated because we have already compensated those who suffered like you, in Kaseese, Bundibugyo and Kabarole districts,” he said.

Kisembo, however, advised the participants not only to wait for government fi nancial aid but also embrace government programmes to improve on their livelihood such as operation wealth programmes. The work shop was attended by the district counsellors.

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Lukwago Joseph grew up in a newspaper family, and rumor has it that instead of playing the guitar in his infancy, his parents put a reporter’s notebook and a pen next to him shortly after he turned born eight years. Before becoming editor of UGANDANZ, Lukwago was a parliament news editor for WBS TV. He joined UGANDANZ in July 2018, A few months after the company launched. Lukwago also spent five years as a freelance reporter, where he covered reporting for the highest bidder, intelligence, foreign policy, and Ugandan police. Lukwago graduated from Makerere University in 2008 with a B.A. in Journalism and worked on his college newspaper.