Life at Kadogo school was harder than days as fighter

Part III. In our series NRA Kadogo/child soldiers, we continue from yesterday with Warrant Officer I Frank Kiconco’s story. Kiconco, who was rescued by rebels aged five, later became Prince Ronald Muwenda Mutebi’s escort during his visit to the war area. Kiconco is currently a logistics officer at the motorised headquarters in Nakasongola, a position he has held since 2008.

Sunday February 14 2016

Frank Kiconco (2ndL) and colleagues at

Frank Kiconco (2ndL) and colleagues at Mbarara Kadogo School. PHOTO COURTESY OF HENRY LUBEGA 

By Henry Lubega

All of a sudden they flashed a message from the CHC [Chief of High Command] to the NPC [National Political Commissar, now Col (Rtd) Amanya Mushega] to go and collect present-day Kabaka of Buganda [Ronald Muwenda Mutebi] from Katuna border post.

The message asked the NPC to organise security and transport for Mutebi. As his chief bodyguard, I was given the task. I got four other soldiers.

We had a Land Rover 110 and one of our supporters gave us an Isuzu Trooper when we got to Katuna.

The prince had come with two other people; the one person I recall well on that team was John Nagenda [senior media adviser to President Museveni]. There was another man called Mawanda.

While there, we were told Mutebi wanted to visit the boys at the frontline, but we could not risk taking him there. We instead took him around Kasese. I was driven in the same car with Mutebi and his team.

The NPC sat at the front while the others and I sat behind the Land Rover 110.

In Kasese, he stayed at Hotel Magharita and met some commanders. He stayed there for close to a month as they cleared the road to Mbarara.
From Kasese, the prince came up to Masaka but did not address rallies. He met a few of our supporters and members of the High Command.

It was the NPC who told him what was happening. Mutebi came up to Nabbingo where the final plans for Kampala were made before going back. We escorted him up to Masaka, left him in a hotel and came back to Nabbingo.

Uganda Airlines plane hijacked
Before he came to Masaka, news came in that Col Serwanga Lwanga [RIP] who had gone with a team to Kampala on a spying mission had been captured in Nateete.

We were in Kasese when the message was flashed to the NPC.

The High Command hatched a rescue plan. I never got to know the details but two days later, around midday, we were at Kasese Airfield with the NPC when I was told there was a plane coming.

I was told to prepare a force to be deployed at the airfield. The plane had been hijacked by our forces and it was to land at the airfield.

At about 2pm, a Uganda Airlines plane landed with 200 passengers on board. One of the personnel who hijacked it was Bisango, now a retired major.

He stepped out first with his pistol raised in the air. I did not identify the other person he was with.

The NPC had already mobilised buses from Kasese Town to take the passengers [hostages]. They were all checked as they boarded the buses to be taken to Hotel Magharita.

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