Lt. Gen. Bazilio Olara Okello, a former UNLA commander is finally buried at home, 25 years after he died in exile in Sudan.
LAMWO - Lt. Gen. Bazilio Olara Okello, a former Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA) commander, was laid to rest with full military honours at his ancestral home in Melec-Poyamo, Madi Opei sub-county in Lamwo district, 25 years after he died in exile in Khartoum, Sudan.
The fallen army man received a 15-gun salute.
Relatives, religious leaders and politicians thanked the Government and President Yoweri Museveni in particular, for granting them permission to bring Olara Okello’s remains back home for burial.
However, the family asked the Government to support Olara Okello’s family and also return his properties that were reportedly looted during the insurgencies.
Maj. (retired) Oloya Padwat, on behalf of the family, said: “I asked Government officials to inform the President that Olara Okello’s orphans need help.”
It was not clear what properties the family was referring to, but a family member told New Vision last week that Olara Okello’s grinding mill was vandalized by government soldiers (NRA) during the war.
Olara Okello is survived by two wives, 13 children and 31 grandchildren. Several of his children, who live in the UK, missed the last rites.
The then-commander of the 15th Batallion Con Bazilio Okello Olara addressing businessmen in Nakasero market on September 30, 1980
Disaster preparedness minister Hillary Onek promised to convey the family’s message to Museveni and urged the Government to give Olara Okello’s gratuity to the family.
During the burial ceremony attended by hundreds of people, several speakers praised the military veteran.
“He was a courageous and devoted peace lover, who dedicated his life and military career to the restoration of peace to Uganda by fighting dictatorial and colonial regimes,” said Lt. Gen Andrew Gutti.
“The UPDF commends his courageous personality. I call on other officers to emulate him. His departure was a big loss to us.”
Gutti represented the Chief of Defence Forces (CDF), Gen. Katumba Wamala.
Various dignitaries, including the deputy speaker, Jacob Oulanyah and Justice Owiny Dollo attended.
Others were state minister for international cooperation, Henry Oryem Okello and several MPs, led by Aswa County MP Reagan Okumu, who also serves as Acholi Parliamentary Group chairman.
Lt. Gen. Bazilio Okello laid to rest at his home