Today in our Special Series on the NRA War and child Soldiers, we bring you some of the names of these ‘Kadogos’ as released by Sgt Gitta Musoke a then child soldier who accounts events of the NRA war.
Gitta says he and other colleagues still alive are suffering and forgotten. Read here
In 1971, the President of Uganda Milton Obote was overthrown in a coup d’état by parts of the Uganda Army which put Idi Amin in power. Obote had been president since Uganda’s independence from the United Kingdom in 1962, and his regime saw a general decline in living standards in the country, with growing corruption, factional violence, and persecution of ethnic groups.
Obote’s increasing unpopularity led him to believe rivals were beginning to plot against him, particularly Amin and arranged a purge to occur while he was outside of the country. As Amin was popular in sections of the military, his loyalists responded by acting first and overthrowing the government, forcing Obote into exile in Tanzania.
Despite initial popularity, Amin quickly turned to despotism and established a military dictatorship which accelerated the decline of Obote’s regime, destroying the country’s economy and political system.
As time went on, Amin’s regime was increasingly destabilized by factionalism and economic decline, while opposition groups as well as dissatisfied elements of the Uganda Army repeatedly attempted to organize uprisings or to overthrow his regime by other means.
Several opposition factions, including Obote’s loyalists, were supported by Tanzania under President Julius Nyerere. In 1978, parts of the Uganda Army launched an invasion of Tanzania under unclear circumstances, resulting in open war with the neighboring country. Tanzania halted the assault, mobilised anti-Amin opposition groups, and launched a counter-offensive.
Amin’s forces and his Libyan allies were defeated by Tanzanian troops and the Uganda National Liberation Front (UNLF), a political coalition formed by exiled anti-Amin Ugandans under the leadership of Obote, whose armed wing was known as Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA).
Amin was overthrown during the fall of Kampala and then fled the country, and UNLF was installed by Tanzania to replace him. The unstable UNLF government ruled the country provisionally from April 1979 until December 1980. Meanwhile, the ousted Amin loyalists who had fled into Zaire and Sudan reorganised, and prepared to renew war in order to regain control of Uganda.
Meanwhile, Uganda’s northeast was destabilized by large-scale banditry and communal violence. Karamojong groups, Uganda Army remnants, and foreign raiders[a] used the political instability to raid cattle and other foodstock. These events caused a famine in Karamojong Province which killed 50,000 out of the 360,000 inhabintants of the northeastern highlands.
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