By Watchdog Uganda reporter
The death of the Uganda’s Military Attache to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) Brigadier Geoffrey ‘Taban’ Kyabihende brings to memory services he has rendered to this country, largely in the field of security.
Brig. Kyabihende going by his number in UPDF of RO0094, is one of the first 100 people who participated in the liberation struggle.
He has serviced in different capacities in the military, and he is very much remembered for ordered a military onslaught on the Democratic Allied Forces in their early formative days.
Watchdog Uganda publisher Mike Ssegawa, interviewed Brig Geoffrey K Taban for an article which ran in the Daily Monitor of August 7, 2016.
Then, he was the acting commander of the First Division based in Lubiri in Kampala when the army got wind of ADF activities in Buseruka in Hoima.
Gen Taban told Mr Ssegawa that President Museveni ordered him to carry out an operation to wipe ADF out.
Meeting at Imperial Royale in Kampala, Gen Taban told the Watchdog Uganda publisher the story of how the military got wind of the ADF menace and how they reacted.
Below was the narration:
The military got intelligence that ADF was training in Buseruka. There were strange people buying food stuffs such as maize, posho and beans in huge numbers.
This information mainly came from special branch police whose role was to gather information to feed other security agencies including the military. The army also had its own information on the developments.
We wanted to know where they were taking these food stuffs.
The President got information on the activities and there was a young man who was grazing cattle in the area who had seen people training. The president also got collaborating information from this young man.
In the area, there was a cave in the lower plains in Hoima. The people training had asked the herdsman to supply them with milk. The boy became our contact and he guided our people to the exact location.
He was taken to Masindi where Kashaka was a commander.
And when Mzee (President Museveni) rang me to prepare a force of two companies (about 300 soldiers). We readied a well-prepared force for the operation under the late Lt Col Emmanuel Ruuija.
The herdsboy was the guide and was picked from Hoima. The forces found Mukulu’s men on parade. Going down from the uphill to the valley was not easy, because the rebels would see you from their camp below.
When our forces attacked, many rebels were put out of action, some were captured, and Mukulu escaped with some men via Lake Albert into DRC.
The forces captured some ammunition including guns, but also, Korans, and pamphlets in Arabic with ADF doctrine.
I wasn’t with the force that attacked but I came later on the ground with Hon Crispus Kiyonga, Hon Henry Kajura and Lt Col Kashaka.
After inspection, we went to Hoima to brief Omukama Solomon Gafabusa on what was happening.
After Mukulu crossed to DRC with some rebels, we could not pursue them there so they regrouped and joined forced
with NALU. They started recruiting from Busoga and Kyazanga in present day Lwengo.
ADF has however become weak over the years. FARDC, the DRC army and MONUSCO, in 2014 launched operations in their hiding areas, particularly the Virunga forests. The operations were a big blow to ADF, which disorganized their command. Mukulu had his headquarter there called Madina camp, which according to DRC forces, he wanted to use it to cut off an area from Congo to create his own country called Mafina, and use it as a base to topple the government in Uganda. But the operations weakened them and may be that is why he ran to Tanzania where he was captured.
There are still remnants of the force operating in small groups, and they steal from locals, kill and abduct people to join them.
Rest in peace Gen Geoffrey ‘Taban’ Kyabihende.