By Owen B Alton
Kasese: The Team Leader of Presidential Initiative on Peace, Security and Development in Rwenzori region and Eastern DR Congo, Christopher Taban Kibanzanga has appealed to all those still active in ADF rebellion to escape and come back home.
Hon Kibanzanga made these remarks on Friday 21st July 2023 during the handover of 14 women captives that were rescued by joint security forces from ADF rebels on Monday night to the Kasese peace, security and rehabilitation Centre in Kamaiba cell, Central division in Kasese Municipality.
He said since the 16th June 2023 ADF rebel attack on Mpondwe-Lhubiriha Secondary School in Kasese district, that left 37 students and 7 community members dead, UPDF has intensified operations to rescue those captured.
Kibanzanga noted that the Presidential Initiative on Peace,Security and Development in Rwenzori region and Eastern DR Congo Team cooperates with UPDF and Dott Services to ensure that more abductees are rescued and rehabilitated.
He said those rescued are taken for rehabilitation at Kasese peace,security and rehabilitation Centre,in Kamaiba cell,where they are registered and their bio-data generated to plan how to re-integrate them into communities.
Kibanzanga said of the 14 women who were rescued by the UPDF,two who were injured are receiving treatment at Rwenzori MNountain Division in Muhoti,Fort Portal,while the rest,12,will be rehabilitated in Kasese pending transfer to Kampala for more rehabilitation and physco social counseling.
The Team Leader said that of the 12 women,one is a Burundi national while the rest are Congolese who speak Swahili.
The Team Leader of Presidential Initiative on Peace, Security and Development in Rwenzori region and Eastern DR Congo further said after rehabilitation in Kasese, the women will be transferred to another final rehabilitation in Kampala, and then see how to reintegrate them back into their families.
“But the biggest challenge is most of them are Congolese, we are not sure that DR Congo has such an arrangement to rehabilitate them and resettle them back to their communities”,Kibanzanga said.
However, he stated that they are working under the auspices of UN to mandate them to reintegrate returnees to their countries.
Kibanzanga added that the Team of Peace Makers that he leads is leasing with Management Training and Advisory Centre (MTAC) to give quick life skills to the returnees.
M-TAC, is a body corporate under the Ministry Trade, Industry and Cooperatives (MTIC) that helps citizens of Uganda to become entrepreneurs, to raise the standard of skill of workers employed in industry and to organize and conduct training courses for semi-skilled and skilled workers among others.
Kibanzanga who said they are peace makers, appealed to all those still active in ADF rebellion, those who were abducted and lured into rebel activities to utilize the chance of UPDF presence in DR Congo to escape and hand themselves over to UPDF or FARDC soldiers, traditional and religious leaders so that they are rescued.
The former state Minister of Defence in charge of Veterans Affairs argued that one cannot use rebellion or force to spread Islamic religion, saying rebellions are unfashionable in these modern times. He called on round table talks to solve issues and encouraged reconciliation.
He also blamed ADF rebels for Human Trafficking saying it is a human right violation.
Fanahasi Bwambale Kisokeranio, a former ADF rebel Commander, who sought for Amnesty and is now freely living in Uganda also appealed to ADF rebels to shun their activities and return home, saying he is enjoying peace after being forgiven by President Museveni.
Mr Kisokeranio, the Manager of Training and Advisory Center, at Kasese peace security and rehabilitation Centre, said the 12 returnees will be trained and given hands-on skills in bakery, solid and liquid soap making, hair shampoo, Vaseline oil and sanitary towel making among others.