PRA chiefs on the run

Nov 29, 2004

PEOPLE'S Redemption Army (PRA) rebels were trained in Rwanda, officers captured in Koboko last week said yesterday.

By Emmy Allio
and Patrick Allioni

PEOPLE'S Redemption Army (PRA) rebels were trained in Rwanda, officers captured in Koboko last week said yesterday.
Capt. James Katabazi alias London, PRA commander Col. Samson Mande’s aide, told journalists, “I joined the National Resistance Army in 1981 and my army number is No.RA285. I became a captain in 1990. I was sentenced and jailed for 10 years.”
Katabazi was jailed in connection with the shooting and killing of a Somali truck driver on Pakwach-Karuma road. President Yoweri Museveni pardoned him after serving seven years. On release, he joined the Reform Agenda (RA) of Col. Kiiza Besigye.
Meanwhile, PRA rebels in Arua district are on the run following the Koboko operation that netted their senior officers last week.
The fugitives include PRA’s regional coordinator Rodxen Zedriga, who was Besigye’s regional campaign manager in the 2001 presidential election.
Katabazi was among nine senior PRA chiefs captured by the Chieftaincy of Military Intelligence and the Joint Anti-Terrorist Squad in Koboko.
Katabazi said, “After 2001 presidential elec
tions, I fled the country to Rwanda because of harassment by security personnel. I joined PRA on December 23, 2003.”
The army is also pursuing senior PRA officers George and Kashwano, from Mbarara and Bushenyi districts, sources said.
Army spokesman Maj. Shaban Bantariza said, “Zedriga was in Koboko when the operation began. We shall pick them inside or outside the country. PRA will not be a problem to us,” Bantariza said. Katabazi was employed as a cattlekeeper by Abubaker Bayiga, a district councillor of Ludara division.
Fifty-nine guns were seized from Bayiga’s home. Bayiga is a former security officer in Idi Amin’s regime attached to the Marine Unit. He paid Katabazi in the form of milk. He admitted knowledge of the guns found in his home.
Another suspect, Jackson Jarua, was arrested for collaborating with a PRA officer identified as George. Jarua is the regional officer of the Uganda Revenue Authority.
He said, “George met me in Arua. He said he traded between Uganda and Sudan and Uganda and Congo. One day George sent me to Kampala to collect money from a friend who gave me sh6m. He added sh4m later. I brought the money to George.”
Another suspect, Frank Atukunda, said he joined PRA in Congo in 2002. The Makerere University graduate of Economics and Social Sciences, said, “When UPDF overran the PRA camp in Ituri, I moved to Kigali for more training where I met Col. Edson Muzoora, Col. Anthony Kyakabaale and Capt. James Katabazi.” Kyakabale and Muzoora are PRA commanders, now living in exile in Sweden.
Atukunda is a son of Eliot Mwembezi Karuhanga of Bushenyi. He said, “My role in PRA in Koboko was to receive cash and pass it to Katabazi.”
Atukunda said, he knew Besigye’s brother, John Musasizi, now under detention for treason. He said, “I was sent to Musasizi by Katabazi to get some money to buy a powersaw. This is how I got into this problem,” he said. He also said he knew Zedriga.

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