Ugandan Bush War
|Ugandan Bush War|
|Uganda National Liberation Army||National Resistance Army
|Commanders and leaders|
Smith Opon Acak
|Casualties and losses|
The Ugandan Bush War, also known as the Luwero War, the Ugandan civil war or the Resistance War, refers to the guerrilla war waged between 1981 and 1986 in Uganda by the National Resistance Army (NRA) under the leadership of Yoweri Museveni against the government of Milton Obote, and later that of Tito Okello.
After defeat in what he called fraudulent elections in 1979, Museveni and his supporters assembled in the southwest of the country and formed the Popular Resistance Army (PRA). The PRA later merged with former president Yusuf Lule's group, the Uganda Freedom Fighters, to create the NRA and its political wing, the National Resistance Movement.
At the same time, the military wing of the Uganda National Liberation Front, the Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA), fought remnants of Idi Amin's supporters. They had formed the Uganda National Rescue Front and the Former Uganda National Army to the north in the country's West Nile sub-region.
Paul Kagame and other Rwandan exiles in Uganda (who later formed the Rwandan Patriotic Front) allied with Museveni's NRA. Kagame had been trained in Tanzania as a spy and later became Museveni's counter-intelligence chief.
Hostilities in the south began on 6 February 1981, with an NRA attack on an army installation in the central Mubende District. Museveni was familiar with guerrilla warfare. He fought with the Mozambican Liberation Front in Mozambique, and with his own Front for National Salvation, which was formed in Tanzania to fight the Amin regime, and had continued to campaign in rural areas hostile to Obote's government, especially central and western Buganda and in the western regions of Ankole and Bunyoro.
Most of the battles involved small mobile units called "coys" under the command of Fred Rwigyema, and Museveni's brother, Salim Saleh. "A" Coy was led by Steven Kashaka, "B" Coy by Joram Mugume, and "C" Coy by Pecos Kuteesa. There were three small zonal forces – Lutta Unit operating in Kapeeka, Kabalega Unit operating near Kiwoko, and Nkrumah Unit operating in the areas of Ssingo.
Human rights abuses
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The ranks of the UNLA included many ethnic Acholi and Lango, who had themselves been the victims of Amin's genocidal purges in northern Uganda. Despite this, the UNLA under Obote targeted and abused civilians, reminiscent of Amin's own abuses. These included the forced removal of 750,000 civilians from the area of the then Luweero District, including present-day Kiboga, Kyankwanzi, Nakaseke, and others. They were moved into refugee camps controlled by the military. Many civilians outside the camps, in what came to be known as the "Luweero triangle", were continuously abused as "guerrilla sympathizers". Amnesty International has estimated that by July 1985, the Obote regime had been responsible for more than 300,000 civilian deaths across Uganda.
The NRA also committed atrocities. They used land mines against civilians. Child soldiers were widespread in the NRA's ranks, and continued to be after the NRA had become the regular Ugandan army.
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- Uganda, Landmine Monitor Report, Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor, May 2004