The Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) has revived the Alpine Brigade following last weekend’s attacks in the Rwenzori region. Government records indicate that 90 people died when unknown group of people attacked the districts of Kasese, Bundibugyo and Ntoroko on Saturday.
The group which emerged from the Rwenzori mountains, attacked government installations like Bundibugyo police station and Kanyamwirima barracks.
The Alpine Brigade on the slopes of Rwenzori Mountains, was created in 1998 to fight the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels. At its inception, it was under the command of the then Brigadier James Kazini, who commanded ‘Operation Mountain Sweep’ and later Operation Safe Haven before being promoted to Major General and appointed army commander in 2001. It was however disbanded after the defeat of the ADF rebels. Kazini was killed in 2009 in a domestic brawl.
The decision to revive the brigade was reached at during a meeting of security chiefs held in Fort Portal town on Thursday. The meeting was chaired by the Inspector General of Police General Kale Kayihura. All the district security committee members in the Rwenzori region who include RDCs, CAOs, District Internal Security Officers, attended the meeting.
The attackers who stormed Bundibugyo town emerged from Buhundu and Bumadu sub counties, which are located on the slopes of the Rwenzori Mountains.
Major Ronald Kakurungu, the UPDF 2nd Division Spokesperson, says that more troops will be re deployed in the mountains to avoid further attacks, since there are reports that some members of the group are still regrouping and are planning to carry out more attacks in the region.
Asked why the brigade had been disbanded, Kakurungu said that there was a small presence of the army, but since it has been revived, the brigade will be permanently established there even when the situation has stabilized.
On Monday, security sources told Uganda Radio Network that the police had been informed on an impending attack by youth groups.
The security meeting also resolved that community policing should be scaled up in areas where the attacks took place. Elias Nuwagaba, the Bundibugyo deputy Resident District Commissioner, says that through community policing the residents will be able to avail security officers with information about any suspicious activities in the area and also be stopped from being lured to join criminal groups.