President Yoweri Museveni has said his 195km Galamba-Bireembo trek taught trekkers endurance and manoeuvres.
The journey from Wakiso district in central Uganda to Kibaale district in western Uganda ended Thursday evening after six days of endurance.
“These same elements I witnessed with the NRA fighters during the 1986 liberation struggle,” Museveni said while praising Bazzukulu for persisting and making it to Birembo.
He said by difficult marches, by day and by night, NRA fighters went through Bukuya, Butorogo, crossed Hoima-Kakumiro road at Nkoondo and camped at Kasaambya Sub-County Headquarters on the afternoon of the 8th of January, 1985.
There, through the usual radio communication, we agreed with Saleh to link up at Bireembo, only 8 miles from Kasaambya Sub-county headquarters.
The link was effected on the 9th of January, 1985. The Kabaamba operation/battle had been almost as successful as the Masindi one.
About 650 rifles, mortars, machine-guns, ammunition, etc., had been captured. It was another historic victory for the NRA.
“We, eventually, camped at Nyambiindo and re-organized the force creating the battalions that pushed the UPC regime to its evening hours.”
After the attack at Bukomero, we trekked to Kakinzi, NRA had lost so many things.
“I had no blanket or toothbrush. The nights in the bush can really be cold. We solved this by being before the fire but the thing with the fire was that when you warm the back, the front gets very cold,” Museveni said.
It was really miserable until he was donated a very smelly filthy blanket from Anthony Kyakabale (Lt Col).
“It is the most filthy thing I have ever seen and yet the ‘sweetest’ gift I have ever received.”
About toothbrush, a son of Dr Ssebuliba donated to Museveni his own toothbrush which he had to first boil, sterilize and use.
Christopher Ssetuba was born in 1924 and killed when UNLA forces attacked us (Kagogo, Bukomero) in 1981.
Museveni pitched his tent at Ssetuba’s residence, where he spent the night to pay tribute to this gallant son.
Memories of Birembo
The UNLA counter-offensive, now led by Ogole and Odwar, tried to make Saleh drop the guns by incessant attacks: Hapuuyo and Kabaamba itself.
The inconvenience for the Saleh group was that they were heavy – laden, not with sins as the Church hymn goes, but with the means of liberation because they were the fighters to repulse Ogole and Odwar and at the same time carry the heavy loads of weapons.
Their double-burden: fight and carry. The urgent tasks now were to relieve the fighters of the burden of carrying and to expand the fighting force by arming the unarmed (the commandoes).
Hence, the link up at Bireembo.