By John B. Thawite
The attackers on the Rwenzori districts of Kasese, Ntoroko and Bundibugyo on July 5 paid sh30,000 each for magic claimed to be bullet-resistant.
They paid the money to one Kasulenge, a witchdoctor, who administered the magic on them by putting herbs into incisions or smearing it on their bodies and assuring them that the fetish would ward off any bullets.
Over 200 of the attackers have been arrested and remanded for various offences while close to 440 had by Sunday surrendered, implying that they may have lost about sh21m.
The Rwenzururu chief prince, Christopher Kibanzanga, disclosed this at a peaceful conflict resolution conference held at the district multi-purpose hall Sunday.
The meeting was convened and chaired by retired Masaka RDC, Barnabas Bwambale, currently the Kasese District Elder's Forum chairperson.
Quoting some of the attackers who have since surrendered in Bundibugyo, Kibanzanga said the attackers, most of them youth, were "blinded, deceived, manipulated and exploited to their graves through a high level of lies and propaganda by selfish planners" of the attacks.
"These selfish individuals clouded our people's minds with false confidence of black magic that they claimed would shield them from bullets," he said.
According to Kibanzanga, the planners also deceived the attackers by convincing them that the UN and the SADAC forces would immediately come to their aid against the government forces a short while into the attack.
This is said to have heightened the enthusiasm and excitement of the unsuspecting youth making them attack the military barracks at Kanyamwirima and several police posts, where they were mowed by gunfire.
According to Kibanzanga, the attackers also argued that they fought for the cessation of the Bakonzo from Uganda to form an independent state - the Yira Republic.
Stop living in the past - Kibanzanga
Kibanzanga, who is the Rwenzururu cultural leader, Charles Wesley Mumbere's younger brother, castigated some leaders in the institution for living in the past.
Kibanzanga also challenged the institution to come out open on the July 5 multiple attacks in the Rwenzori sub-region.
He warned the Rwenzururu against suppressing other ethnicities in the area who also want their cultural identity saying Article 246 of the Constitution protects them.
The district chairman, Lt Col (rtd) Mawa Muhindo, cautioned the Bakonzo against persecuting the Banyabindi and Basongora.
"The late James Kazini was a Musongora. Did he not fight to save you from the ADF? Amon Bazira, a Munyabindi was instrumental in negotiating the Charles Mumbere's descent from the Rwenzori jungles in 1982," Mawa said.
The Mayor Kasese Municipality, Godfrey Kabyanga, urged those investigating the attacks to separate individuals from the Obusinga bwa Rwenzururu institution.
The Speaker Bundibugyo Local Government, Hashim Bikopo, appealed for intensified mobilisation in the region to prevent a repeat of the tribal atrocities.
"The Churches and Mosques are always full every prayer day. So where are the wrong doers coming from?" he asked.
Closing the conference, Kasese RDC, retired Maj James Mwesigye, warned against tampering with security and stability in the region.
"You can shout in your different political parties but anyone who gets lured into fighting government will never return alive," he warned.
Mwesigye blamed the violence on some leaders who he accused of thriving on lies and misleading the wananchi