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National Resistance Army forms first fighting army

After attacking Kabamba army barracks, the force (NRA) moved westwards and on February 7, had reached Kiboga over 100km away from Kabamba.

The force still held onto several trucks that they had captured from the barracks. This was tricky since the trucks exposed the fighters’ locations to the government army.

“In the morning of February 7, 1981, we bought food, cooked, ate, then had a parade where I formed the first sections of the NRA. We discovered that by that morning of the 7th of February, we had improved our rifle count to 43, a gain of 16 guns from our figure of the previous morning,” Yoweri Museveni said.

With this additional strength, he took the first act of setting up formations, basing on both the human and weapons availability.

Thus, the first four NRA section commanders were Sam Magara in charge of the 1st Section, Elly Tumwine in charge of the 2nd Section, Hannington Mugabi in charge of the 3rd Section and Jack Muchunguzi in charge of the 4th section.

Elly Tumwine

While Hannington Mugabi and Sam Magara died during the war, Elly Tumwine is still serving at the rank of General, while Jack Muchunguzi retired at the rank of Lt Colonel.

“Each section had 12 guns,” he said. Unfortunately, the entire force had just one RPG to support it and two or three Machine Guns. By 2pm, driving eight trucks, the force drove into Kiboga town, attacked and overrun the police station and took possession of more rifles.

Museveni also brazenly addressed a big gathering near the current district headquarters. Recruitment of fighters started immediately and indeed it was here that the first recruits from amongst the civilian population were got.

One of the most prominent of the first Kiboga recruits is Major General Wasswa ‘Balikalege’.

“He told us that he had launched a military rebellion against the Obote hegemony,” remembers Mohammed Ssekamatte, who later also joined the war.

Ssekamatte retired at the rank of Lt. and is now privately working in Mogadishu.

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