Thursday July 10 2014

He survived fierce battles, killed without a gun shot

GP Kale Kayihura together with Kasese Police

GP Kale Kayihura together with Kasese Police Station boss Damian Katwesiime inspect the debris at the burnt house of Cpl Nabimanya in Kasese on Monday. Inset is Cpl Nabimanya. PHOTO BY enid niinsiima 

By Risdel Kasasira

He fought and survived fierce battles against the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels and Sudanese government forces in early and mid-1990s when the UPDF soldiers were fighting alongside the Sudan People’s Liberation Army; yet he fell to machete-wielding men in the ongoing tribal conflict in the Rwenzori region.

Together with his four children; Charity Kansiime, 11, Rosette Okwankunda, 7, Enid Nabagye, 6, and Apophia kurungi, 4, Grace Nabimanya was killed by attackers suspected to be Bakonjo radical youths loyal to the movement.

The attackers are said to be opposed to the revival of the Busongora chiefdom which was dismantled in early 1900s by colonialists who accused the Basongora of being anti-colonialism. Their grazing ground was turned into a national park and this forced most of the Basongora to migrate to Ankole while others went to DR Congo.

Nabimanya, popularly known as Kyoojo, was burly and his bravery made him an ultimate choice of his bosses at the frontline. He put his life at risk and indeed he was injured in the leg by the Sudanese antonov attack in 1998. This was in the decisive battle in Kaya, currently part of South Sudan.

In the battle commanded by Nabimanya’s cousin, Maj Gen James Kazini, a number of Sudanese soldiers were captured and brought to Uganda as prisoners of war.

His other cousin, Sgt Geoffrey Kiiza, who was also injured during Operation Iron Fist in 2001 in another battle with LRA in Lubanga-tek, South Sudan, describes him as a brave and energetic fighter.

“At the frontline, he used to handle rocket propelled grenades. He was a good fighter before he was injured,” Kiiza said of his cousin.
After his injury which cut short his days on the battlefield, he was brought to Mbuya Military Hospital for treatment and later sent to the UPDF causality wing in Mubende Military Barracks where he lived a quiet life at the facility where all UPDF injured soldiers are sent when they are declared unfit for deployment at the frontline.
Prior to the fateful day, Nabimanya took leave from the facility in Mubende to visit his family in Kasese. As fate would have it, he and his family met their death during the attacks.

Nabimanya’s grandparents migrated to Ankole from Kasese. He was born in Nshaara, Kiruhura District in 1975 but his family later went back to Kasese in 2009, more than 100 years since his grandparents first left their ancestral land.

On the fateful day, Cpl Nabimanya was in his house having an afternoon nap after watering his cows. His elder daughter, Charity, was grazing calves near the home. The attackers asked her where her father was and she innocently told them that he was sleeping in the house.

When his daughter heard her father wailing, she came running and started begging the attackers not to kill him. But they chopped off her hand, pushed her inside the house and set it ablaze. The family was burnt to ashes.

Cpl Nabimanya’s wife was away to take care of a relative. That is how she survived. Cpl Nabimanya’s father, Tefuro Rwegira, had left home. He too survived.

The five were buried at Kahungye in Kamwenge District at the home of Nabimanya’s brother.