By John B. Thawite
kASESE - Leaders in Kasese district are meeting to forge a way to sustainable and participatory peaceful conflict resolution in the Rwenzori sub-region, weeks after deadly attacks took place in the area.
The conference is seen as part of the healing process in the wake of last month’s series of coordinated attacks in the districts of Kasese, Ntoroko and Bundibugyo.
Scores of people died in the clashes, others got injured and many were arrested.
The meeting was earlier scheduled to take place at the district multi-purpose hall opposite Kasese airfield on Sunday.
In a press statement on Saturday, Christoper Kibanzanga, a former Busongora South MP, said the conference was aimed at furnishing the community with the right information about the attacks.
The significance of the meeting will be felt considering that the actual cause of the July attacks has been a matter of ambiguity.
The popular blame, however, is on ethnic differences existing amongst the four ethnic groups – Bakonzo, Basongora, Bamba and Banyabindi.
These groups have hitherto co-existed peacefully and even inter-married for many years.
Kibanzanga, who is the younger brother of the Rwenzururu king Charles Wesley Mumbere was reported to be among those to address the conference.
From the initial programme, the chairman of the meeting, retired Masaka RDC, Barnabas Bamusede Bwambale, would lecture on the history of conflicts in the sub-region.
He is presently the chairman of the Kasese District Elders’ Forum.
Over 90 people, including attackers, were reported killed during the clashes.
Some of the attackers raided police stations and an army barracks, making off with some 20 guns, most of which have reportedly been recovered.
Surrenders and transfers
Up to 200 people, including the Rwenzururu premier, Noah Nzaghale and other top kingdom leaders were arrested and tried by the army court in Kasese and Bundibugyo.
Led by its chairman, Levy Karuhanga, the court martial has since charged them with a range of criminal offences including murder, attempted murder, illegal possession of fire arms and ammunition, and attacking security installations.
According to the UPDF 2nd Division spokesperson, Maj Ronald Kakurungu, a total of 436 of the attackers had so far surrendered to the army.
"We have also recovered 16 of the 21 guns we lost in the attacks," he said but made it clear that the recovered guns were not from those surrendering.
Several senior police officers in the Rwenzori sub-region have either been suspended or transferred on demotion for their alleged incompetence in detecting and curtailing the attacks.
The Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura, has replaced them with new commanders in a reshuffle that affected 50 senior officers.
Gen Kayihura said in a statement Friday that the transfers were immediate.