East Africa

Tinye: Rebel attacks just a creation

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The Coordinator of Intelligence Services has appealed for calm and vigilance in the population following recent shooting and gun-grabbing incidents at military barracks and a police installation.

On Sunday, Gen. David Sejusa, formerly known as Tinyefuza, gave an interview to the Daily Monitor in which he said the public shouldn’t panic because of what happened at Army General Headquarters in Mbuya on March 4,
and outside the Army Land Forces headquarters at Bombo on the night of March 8.

“Well, it is you, the media people, who have been writing a lot about these issues and therefore, you should have your sources. But in brief, what I can say is that this whole talk about rebel activities is scaring the population and is not good for the overall stability of the country,” said Gen. Sejusa at his office.

“I wish to appeal to the people of Uganda to remain calm but vigilant and alert. All leaders should know that a country is built not only on the physical capabilities of institutions but also on the moral and psychological belief the population has in them,” Gen Sejusa said.

He said investigations are ongoing into the incidents which have seen both the Inspector General of Police and Minister of Defence make conflicting statements in Parliament.

This is the third time in four months that the General is giving an interview on issues of public concern. He had warned in October against arrogance, impunity and insensitive behaviour against the population.

A fortnight ago, Mbuya barracks was the scene of a shoot-out between soldiers and a group of individuals. In Bombo, a soldier is believed to have opened fire in a local drinking joint, killing five colleagues and five civilians.

Over the same weekend, unknown individuals are reported to have made their way into Mpala police post on Entebbe Road and taken off with a gun.

These incidents have generated public debate and reports in some media that a new rebel outfit may have commenced clandestine operations in Buganda region.

These suggestions have, however, been strongly refuted by both the police and army.

But Gen. Sejusa expressed concern that even before investigations reveal the truth about what could be going on, there have been uncoordinated, and in some instances, reckless utterances that are widely quoted in the media.

“This is not how things should be done and, in my view, the first undesirable effect is that such contradictory messages from different leaders, have a tendency to undermine political confidence or cohesion in
the population. You must have seen some civilians shifting from Bombo town because of the scare following that gruesome murder of innocent Ugandans,” he said.

A veteran of the guerilla war which brought President Museveni to power in 1986, Gen. Sejusa recalled how in the past people abandoned whole villages in Wakiso, Masaka, Luwero, Mityana following massacres of entire families.

“It is important that in such instances, that there is sufficient coordination in what is churned out by different leaders. Explain to the population about all such cases. This is important because it reassures the population and prevents panic.”

The General warned of the negative impact of loose talk, even when facts are not clear, on investor confidence.

In reference to Col. Kulayigye’s statement blaming the Mbuya shooting on thugs, he said he finds it absurd and wondered why a common thief would attack a well-defended garrison to steal a gun.

Army intrigue denied
“Why not steal those guns lying everywhere in this city on the chest of sleeping askaris who guard many installations?” He asked.

“By the way, I have also read in one of your nutty tabloids that there is a four-star General and a Brigadier who either financed [the operation] or something like that, (Laughs). If there is a General who can
deploy/finance 10 or 50 securiko guards like some of those arrested trying to overrun Mbuya barracks, he must be an idiot or he could be a Corporal who bribed his way to Generalship.”

Gen. Sejusa speaks out for the first time in 16 years about his role as the commander of Operation North during the Northern Uganda insurgency. He rejects blame for the reported atrocities and other abuses said to have
been committed by government forces against civilians.

Referring to commentary on the conflict in which he has been adversely named, Gen. Sejusa said he is aware that there are people who want to discredit him using the war.


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