SERIES: M7- NRA Child Soldiers in Despair, Extreme Poverty and Begging.

HICGI News Agency – updated 1956 EAT on Sunday 02nd April 2023

The Ugandan Bush War, also known as the Luwero War, the Ugandan Civil War or the Resistance War, was a civil war fought in Uganda by the official Ugandan government and its armed wing, the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA), against a number of rebel groups, most importantly the National Resistance Army (NRA), from 1980 to 1986.

The unpopular President Milton Obote was overthrown in a coup d’état in 1971 by General Idi Amin, who established a military dictatorship. Amin was overthrown in 1979 following the Uganda-Tanzania War, but his loyalists started the Bush War by launching an insurgency in the West Nile region in 1980. Subsequent elections saw Obote return to power in a UNLA-ruled government. Several opposition groups claimed the elections were rigged, and united as the NRA under the leadership of Yoweri Museveni to start an armed uprising against Obote’s government on 6 February 1981. Obote was overthrown and replaced as president by his general Tito Okello in 1985 during the closing months of the conflict. Okello formed a coalition government consisting of his followers and several armed opposition groups, which agreed to a peace deal. In contrast, the NRA refused to compromise with the government, and conquered much of western and southern Uganda in a number of offensives from August to December 1985.


The NRA captured Kampala, Uganda’s capital, in January 1986. It subsequently established a new government with Museveni as president, while the UNLA fully disintegrated in March 1986. Obote and Okello went into exile. Despite the nominal end of the civil war, numerous anti-NRA rebel factions and militias remained active, and would continue to fight Museveni’s government in the next decades.

However the NRA war wouldn’t succeed without another group and these are Child Soldiers that President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni then rebel leader recruited. In our Special series, HICGI News Agency brings you stories of former NRA child soldiers .


L-R: Gen Kahinda Otafiire, Maj Robert Kabuura, Maj Koozi Tumusiime, Gen Yoweri Museveni, an unidentified judicial officer, Maj Gen Jim Muhwezi and Sir Peter Allen (then Chief justice) during the 1986 swearing-in ceremony at Parliament. COURTESY PHOTO

Speaking to HICGI News Agency, Sgt Giita Musoke a former child soldier narrates “On 26/01/1986, we managed to capture Kampala every thing was at our hands as rebels of NRA/M under the command of our rebel leader Mr. YKT Museveni now R0.001 Gen. YKT Museveni and president of Uganda . The posts like Radio Uganda, Parliament, State Houses, all army barracks, Republic House, Air Field was under our control as NRA / M from Luweero Bush war 1981 – 1986.”

On 29/01/1986 the day Gen. Museveni sworn in as the President of Uganda during the celebration at the parliament building, more than 10,000 Ugandans walked from several corners of Uganda to come and witness the swearing in of the rebel leader of NRA/M who had become the new president to replace the former dictator Gen. Tito Okello Lutwa and his group. President Museveni delivered a historical speech to Ugandans promising a fundamental change . “This is not a mere change of guards.”

Justice Sir. Allen Peter a white man, then chief justice of Uganda, presided over the swearing in ceremony. He was the first white police officer who worked in Uganda police during former regimes of Obote and Amin. Those who were standing close with the new president were rebel commanders like now Gen. Kahinda Otafire, Gen. Jim Muhwezi and personnal radio signaler now Brig. Moses Lukyamuzi in former PPU now SFC


Gitta says , the after math of the ceremony would have been tears and death because the group of Gen. Tito Okello Lutwa, Gen. Bazilio Olara Okello, Col. Eric Odwar and Lt. Col. Stephen Obonyo were already planning to bomb Gen. Museveni while on swearing in. “The Helicopter gunship type (Bell Textron) was staged at Gulu well equipped with bombs, machine gun and left there the day of swearing in. The pilot was Late Andama a Lugwar from Arua and Co-pilot was Lt. Odyambo a Mudama from Tororo who died later.” He adds that they traveled from Gulu coming to fulfill the mission of their top men. On their way coming they defied the orders of their bosses where they diverted the route and turned to Nakasongora Barracks and surrendered to NRA troops, Nakasongola was the Army air field since Amin’s regime”


Immediately the Radio message was sent to Gen. Salim Saleh who was the leader there at Parliament ceremony. We were there as escorts of our bosses like late. Gisa Fred Rwiyema, Late Patrick Lumumba, Late Shef Alli, Gen. Sejusa and many others deployment was totally tight at that time which means (stand by class one)

The swearing was going on as usual but after the president finished taking oath he moved at Nile mansion now Serena Hotel. Gen. Saleh briefed him about the assassination plot. The president was shocked and he asked Gen. Saleh who where are those “Good Samaritans” Pilots?

Gen. Saleh sent a Radio message to Nakasongola to let that gunship helicopter be escorted and reported at Kololo air field. The plane flew to Kololo received by Gen. Saleh who saluted the pilots for defying the orders of Gen. Okello Lutwa and others.

After Gen. Saleh searched the gunship, it flew on the morning of 30/01/1986 and landed at the Nile mansion ground where the president himself witnessed and other Ugandans who gathered.


Later Gen. Museveni flew with that gunship up to Entebbe State House. The President appointed those pilots Andama and Odyambo as his personal pilots in addition to Maj. Gen. Kizza and Late Col. Balaba as his personal pilots. We survived the death in such ways it was only God who changed the minds of the two pilots and they surrendered to NRA troops

Maj. Andama later died during helicopter crush in Mt Kenya from Entebbe to Somalia operation. Col. Balaba of Budaka also died a natural death . That was the sad story of the swearing of 29/01/1986.

Gen Museveni would have been history and there would be no TAREHE SITA celebrations. Says Sgt Gitta recalling the memories of the NRA as a Kadogo who was there physically near R0.00016 Gen Saleh and late R0.00015 Gen. Gisa Fred Rwigyema at the Parliamentary building as a body guard


“I am a soldier who saved the defence funds when I exposed the 24000 ghost soldiers in UPDF 2001 – 2002 and survived assassination, torture, jailed in safe houses for 2½ years later I was chased from UPDF army without the knowledge of HE. Some officials were sharing 400 billion annually through ghost scam from 1995 – 2003 totaling to 4 trillion from ghost soldiers scandal.” Says Gitta.

Impoverished Sgt Giita Musoke at his house. Courtesy photo

In agony and shame, Gitta is still renting with his children who dropped out of school some due to teenage pregnancy after failing to take care of them.


1. Gen. Saleh Akandwanaho

2. Gen. Sejusa David

3. Gen. Kahinda Otafire

4. Gen. Jim Muhwezi

5. Late Fred Rwigyema

6. Late Paterick Lumumba

7. Late Shef Alli Mwine

8. Late John B Akanga

9. Late Rwabantu

10. Gen. Paul Kagame

11. Gen. Julius Chihande

12. Col. Fred Mwesige

13. Brig. Moses Lukyamuzi

14. Brig. Kimbowa

15. Gen. Joram Mugume

16. Late Dues Serwanga

17. Col. Kizza Besigye

18. Col. Moses Kigongo

19. Late. Elly Tumwine

20. Gen. Matias Kyaligonza

21. Late Fred Kamwesiga

22. Brig. Butime

23. Brig. Jacob Assimwe

And many others in NRA forces.

HICGI News Agency will bring you more stories in the next series about NRA Child Soldiers.


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