Many officers and soldiers of the Uganda Army (UA) settled in Bombo upon their retirement during the Second Republic of Uganda (1971–79). At the time, many inhabitants were Nubians, an ethnic group whose members were viewed as supporters of President Idi Amin. The town also hosted the barracks for the UA's Malire Regiment. As a result, Bombo was affected by the Uganda–Tanzania War. After Idi Amin's government had been factually overthrown and Kampala been captured by the Tanzania People's Defence Force (TPDF) as well as allied Ugandan rebels on 11 April, UA soldiers of Nubian origin as well as their families began to terrorize other locals in Bombo. After several killings, many younger soldiers fled the town, but the retired officers set up defenses to oppose the TPDF's 201st Brigade that was approaching the town from the south.
The Battle of Bombo in April 1979 resulted in a Tanzanian victory. Several Ugandan defenders were killed, much weaponry was captured by the TPDF, and the town suffered substantial damage. Many Nubian, Kakwa, and Lugbara locals subsequently fled the town, fearing reprisals by anti-Amin groups. Following the war's conclusion, Bombo was not provided with relief aid like other settlements, as the new Ugandan government suspected its large Nubian population. Many buildings in the town continued to display damage suffered during the 1979 battle for decades. Bombo's barracks continued to be used during the Ugandan Bush War, and the Uganda National Liberation Army was known to imprison civilians there from 1981.
In the 1980s, Kenya forced many former Nubian inhabitants of Bombo to return to Uganda. They were denied refugee status, and often fell into poverty. In 1995, Bombo was also stripped of its municipality status. Since then, locals have struggled to regain this status.
Bombo is one of three town councils in Luweero District, the other two being Luweero and Wobulenzi. All three town councils are located on the Kampala - Masindi highway, that continues to Gulu and Arua in the Northern Region.
Bombo has an army barracks and was the headquarters of the Ugandan Ministry of Defense until December 2007, when they moved to Mbuya in Nakawa Division in south-eastern Kampala. Bombo, however, remains the headquarters of the Uganda Land Forces.
Former Bombo District
The area in which Bombo town is a main township became Bombo District, one of the first regions that initially received district status when Uganda became independent in October 1962. In 1967, the district was renamed East Mengo. In 1974, Uganda reorganized from districts into provinces, and East Mengo became the Province of Bombo. Provinces were reorganized into districts in 1980, and the district of Luwero was created, with Bombo town as one of the main town councils.
In 2002, the national census estimated the population the town to be 16,699. In 2010, the Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS), estimated the population at 20,500. In 2011, UBOS estimated the mid-year population ar 21,000. In August 2014, the national population census put the population at 26,370.
- UBOS (27 August 2014). "The Population of The Regions of the Republic of Uganda And All Cities And Towns of More Than 15,000 Inhabitants". Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS). Retrieved 22 February 2015 – via Citypopulation.de.
- Avirgan & Honey 1983, p. 180.
- Wandera, Dan (2 April 2018). "Bombo leaders renew demand for municipality". Daily Monitor. Archived from the original on 5 May 2019. Retrieved 3 May 2019.
- Mzirai 1980, p. 114.
- Lamb, David (26 April 1979). "Ugandan Town a Final Victim of Amin's 'Hired Guns'". Los Angeles Times. p. B16.
- "60 hurled from dam, Ugandans say". The Globe and Mail. 24 April 1979. p. 11.
- Otunnu 2017, p. 97.
- "Road Distance Between Kampala And Bombo With Interactive Map". Globefeed.com. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
- Google (3 July 2015). "Location of Bombo At Google Maps" (Map). Google Maps. Google. Retrieved 3 July 2015.
- Defense Headquarters moved from Bombo to Mbuya Archived 26 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine, The Monitor, 25 December 2007
- Ocwich, Denis (7 August 2005). "Can Uganda's Economy Support More Districts?". New Vision (Kampala). Archived from the original on 29 May 2015. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
- UBOS (2012). "Estimated Population of Bombo In 2002, 2010 & 2011" (PDF). Uganda Bureau of Statistics (UBOS). Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 July 2014. Retrieved 22 February 2015.
- Avirgan, Tony; Honey, Martha (1983). War in Uganda: The Legacy of Idi Amin. Dar es Salaam: Tanzania Publishing House. ISBN 978-9976-1-0056-3.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Mzirai, Baldwin (1980). Kuzama kwa Idi Amin (in Swahili). Dar es Salaam: Publicity International. OCLC 9084117.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Otunnu, Ogenga (2017). Crisis of Legitimacy and Political Violence in Uganda, 1979 to 2016. Chicago: Palgrave Macmillan. ISBN 978-3-319-33155-3.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)