Government pays out Shs290m to Bukedea war victims

Government has compensated victims of the National Resistance Movement (NRM) Liberation war in Kachumbala County, Bukedea District, after 33 years.
On Friday, 59 survivors and relatives of those who perished in the liberation struggle received Shs5m each from the Bukedea Woman Member of Parliament Anita Among, who delivered it on behalf of President Museveni.

She said the funds totalling Sh295m had been pledged by the President during his recent visit to the district.
“This money sent by the President is to help wipe away your tears,” Ms Among said.
On February 6, 1986, 29 people died in Kamuriakere Village, Kongunga Town Council in Bukedea District when NRA soldiers clashed with those of ousted Tito Okello Lutwa in a battle that lasted about 10 hours. At least 30 homes were torched in the process.
Mr Emmanuel Dikan, one of the survivors, said the effects of the attack have negatively affected many people in the area.
“We were forced to flee our homes and we have just started to pick up the pieces,” he said.

Mr Dikan, then a father of three, said the first bullet in the attack was fired in his backyard.
“NRA soldiers camped just 50 meters away from my home on the evening of February 5, 1986, and we thought it was a routine security measure since people (during the insurgency) had got used to seeing soldiers,” he said. Mr Dikan added that things suddenly changed the next morning at around 9am when Tito Okello soldiers, who were said to have crossed from Soroti, arrived.

“We suddenly heard gunfire rock the village and smoke was all over; there was no hope of survival,” he said.
“The worst is that after a long fight, NRA soldiers withdrew, joining the fleeing residents. So Okello’s soldiers then raided homes and whoever was found in the house was killed,” the former student of Bukalasa Agricultural College said.
Mr Dikan said because he had witnessed the effects of the liberation war in Luweero District during his school days, he had sent his wife and children when he saw soldiers in the village a day before the attack.

“I also rescued 10 women who had cowed in my house; I told them to run instead and whoever remained hiding in the house was later killed when soldiers raided the village,” Mr Dikan said.
Alibina Opio, who also hails from Kamurakere Village, said she remembers counting not less than 50 bodies of both residents and soldiers after the attack.

“I am only happy that NRM government is responsible; even after the delay, it has still remembered its people,” Ms Opio said.
Mr David Livingstone Kedi, the chairperson of Kachumbala war victims, was thankful to MPs hailing from the area for lobbying government to have their people compensated.
He said they have also asked government to open up development projects for the war victims.


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