in Uganda primarily
occurs in the north, where the Lord’s Resistance Army, a militant religious cult that seeks to overthrow
the Ugandan government, has attacked villages and forcibly conscripted children
into the organization since 1988. The Al-Shabbab militant group has also staged attacks in the
country in response to Ugandan support for AMISOM.
From 1997 the Allied Democratic Front, a terrorist organization based in the Democratic Republic
of the Congo, threw bombs into popular
Ugandan areas. More than 50 people were killed and more than 160 were injured.
Suspects were held in safe houses and then
On 11 July 2010, suicide bombings were carried out
against crowds watching a 2010 FIFA World Cup Final match
during the World Cup at two locations in Kampala.
The attacks resulted in 74 people dead and 70 people hurt.
On 5 July 2014, several gunmen armed with swords and lances
attacked in Kasese, Ntoroko and Bundibugyo districts.
This attack led to the loss of 93 citizens and property worth millions of
Uganda issued The Anti-Terrorism Act 2002 which makes terrorism,
and supporting or promoting terrorism, crimes punishable by capital punishment. It defines terrorism
“the use of violence or threat of violence with
intent to promote or achieve religious, economic and cultural or social ends in
an unlawful manner, and includes the use, or threat to use, violence to put the
public in fear or alarm.”
Defence Ministers Amama Mbabazi of Uganda, Kivutha Kibwana of
Kenya and Philemon Sarungi of Tanzania
had a meeting with other military officials in Kampala,
Uganda from 21 to 23 November 2003 in a U.S.-sponsored anti-terrorism
Ugandan Military Intelligence Chief Colonel Nobel Mayombo told
reporters in Kampala that
terrorism is “one of the items high on the agenda of the meeting and
how East African resources could be put in place to
create security. The meeting will assess the three countries’ readiness to
defense challenges and increase information-sharing including issue on
training. As for Uganda… we also have targets that have to be protected”
because some of the countries near Uganda are “incubators of
Representatives from the governments signed an
agreement on tracking terrorist suspects in East Africa.
There have been two main wars in Uganda, The
Liberation War between Uganda and Tanzania from 1978 to 1979; and The Ugandan
Bush war also known as the Ugandan Civil War from 1981 to 1986.
Relations between Tanzania and Uganda had
been strained for several years before the war started. After Idi Amin seized
power in a military coup in 1971, the Tanzanian
leader Julius Nyerere offered sanctuary
to Uganda’s ousted president, Milton Obote.
Obote was joined by 20,000 refugees fleeing Amin’s attempts to wipe out
opposition. A year later, a group of exiles based in Tanzania attempted,
unsuccessfully, to invade Uganda and remove Amin. Amin blamed Nyerere for
backing and arming his enemies. After this Amin declared a war against
Tanzania and the UNLA (Uganda National Liberation Army) the armed wing of a
political group formed by exiled anti-Amin Ugandans under the leadership of Obote,
which he later lost and got thrown from his power position.
In the aftermath Yusuf Lula
had been installed as president by Tanzania. In June 1979, following a dispute
over the extent of presidential powers, the National
Consultative Commission(NCC), which was then the supreme
governing body of the UNLF, replaced Lule with Godfrey Binaisa.
Binaisa was himself removed on 12 May 1980 by the Military Commission, A Presidential Commission with
three members, Saulo Musoke, Polycarp Nyamuchoncho,
and Joel Hunter Wacha-Olwol were
then appointed to lead the country. They governed Uganda until the December
1980 general elections, which were won by Milton Obote’s Uganda People’s Congress. The elections
were bitterly disputed. Yoweri Museveni alleged electoral fraud and
declared an armed rebellion against Obote’s government, plunging the country
into the Ugandan Bush War.
Yoweri Museveni, a former UNLA commander
during the Uganda-Tanzania War and leader of the rival Uganda Patriotic Movement party,
claimed electoral fraud and declared an
armed rebellion against Obote’s government. Museveni and his supporters
assembled in the south-west of Uganda and formed the Popular Resistance Army (PRA), which
later merged with former president Yusuf Lule’s
group, the Uganda Freedom Fighters, to create
the National Resistance Army and its
political wing, the National Resistance Movement.7 At
the time, UNLA was still fighting remnants of Idi Amin’s
supporters that had formed as the Uganda National Rescue Front and
the Former Uganda National Army in Uganda’s northern West Nile sub-region. In July 1985,
the UNLA military commanders General Tito Okello and
Lieutenant General Bazilio Olara-Okello staged
a coup d’état that ousted Milton Obote from the
presidency, who then fled to Kenya and
later to Zambia.
By 22 January, 1986, government troops in the capital Kampala had
begun to abandon their posts en masse as the rebels gained ground from the
south and south-west. Okello ruled as president for six months until he fled to
Kenya in exile when the government was eventually defeated by the NRA on 25
January 1986. Yoweri Museveni was subsequently sworn in as president on 29
January, and the NRA became the new regular army of
Uganda, which was renamed the Uganda People’s Defence Force in
1995. The Ugandan Bush War has been estimated that approximately 100,000 to
500,000 people, including combatants and civilians, died across Uganda as a
result of war.
Milton Obote never returned to Uganda following his
second overthrow and exile, despite repeated rumors he planned to return to
Ugandan politics. Obote resigned as leader of the Ugandan People’s Congress and
was succeeded by his wife, Maria Obote, shortly before his death on 10 October
2005 in South Africa. Tito Okello remained in exile in Kenya
until 1993, when he was granted an amnesty by
Museveni and returned to Uganda, where he died in Kampala in 1996.
Persecution of Refugees:
Uganda is known as the world’s second most
populous landlocked country with about 84% of this population being Christians.
The Muslims, who are primarily Sunni, represent 12% of the population. However,
despite the statistics, it is rather unfortunate to learn that there are cases
of persecution in this country. There have been threats from terrorist groups
like the Al-Shabab who according to reports, threatened churches that they
would be attacked. This happening in Uganda came after situation in neighboring
countries for instance in Kenya, South Sudan, Somalia, and even in Tanzania,
where there had been repeated attacks on churches.
In Uganda there have been reports of Christian converts being killed and others
ex-communicated by their loved ones. For instance, a 15-year-old girl is
reported to have been murdered after being beaten by her Muslim father who is
also a known Imam of a mosque in Kaliro District. The man is reported to have
reacted to the news that his two daughters had converted to Christianity. The
second daughter who is 12 years old is said to be in hospital recuperating
after surviving the ordeal. Even though the father, Abdullah Ali was arrested and
charged with murder, he was later easily released and given bail after denying
the charge claiming that his daughter died in a motorcycle accident. Another
report shows that a group of Muslim extremists tried to break into a church
service outside Kampala City, armed with swords and clubs, leaving a church
member with injuries and damages to the church building. Other reports show
that some other Muslim extremists attacked and murdered a 12-year-old girl in
Katira areas in eastern Uganda. The girl, whose father was a former sheikh and
later converted to Christianity, was strangled to death while the father was
hit unconscious by the attackers.
These are just among many more of such cases in Uganda. However, it is
important to note that it’s not just the Christians who have suffered this
religious persecution. Recent reports show that some sheikhs were detained over
murder and terror charges. They are accused of killing two prominent Muslim
Sheikhs; Abdul Muwaya and Mustapha Bahiiga. Arrests have been made of several
people in connection with murders, including a brother to one of the deceased
and also a close friend of the deceased.
This wave of insecurity has resulted in heightened tension both among
Christians and Muslims, mostly because the police have not yet identified the
root cause of the rampant murders especially among the sheikhs. Most of the
suspects arrested have charges that include murder, terrorism and crimes
against humanity. Article 18 of The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
states; ‘…everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and
religion; this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and
freedom, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to
manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and observance.
So this means that obviously the citizens of Uganda have the right to choose
whichever religion they like without having a fear of being killed or tortured.
To solve these stir ups between religion, Ugandan
Government has been investigating and has solved some out of the vast variety
of these cases. Justice is being done and if people can not stand the diversity
of religion in Uganda, it would be best if they migrated and left these
innocent refugees alone.