Kasese- A total of 495 people, who reportedly surrendered to the army after July 5 attacks in Rwenzori region, have been granted amnesty.
The group that included 13 women and three children has been staying at National Union Youth Organisation in Maliba Sub-county for more than a month after government assured them of amnesty.
Speaking at the launch of rehabilitation training, the Inspector General of Police, Gen Kale Kayihura, told them that President Museveni had pardoned and granted them amnesty.
“We would have left you to go back go to your homes today but you must first undergo a three weeks rehabilitation training as required by amnesty law,” Gen Kayihura said.
He said the conflicts in the region emanate from land use. “Nobody should deceive you that Rwenzori conflicts originate from land but the way you use it. You must fight for economic development,” he said.
The police boss, however, reminded them that the President has vowed to deal with those who misled them to attack the armed forces.
“If you have problems, you solve them with your leaders but you cannot tell me that it was out of annoyance that you committed suicide. We [government ] have forgiven you but you must understand that what you did was criminal,” Gen Kayihura said.
After acquiring amnesty certificates, he said the group will be used as crime preventers in Rwenzori region.
“We are going to train you how to use a gun so that you will be the first on front line in case ADF[Allied Democratic Forces] attacked,” Gen Kayihura said.
However, the IGP asked Mr Vincent Kapirongo, the suspected master minder of the attack and four others who received presidential pardon, to bring all people under his command.
Gen Kayihura claimed that Mr Kapirongo had promised that he had 1,500 people to surrender but he only brought about 600.
“We want army and police to vaccinate you with soft hearts of forgiveness so that you can change from Saul to Paul before you go back to your homes,” Gen Kayihura said.
But the commissioner of Amnesty, Fr Thomas Kisembo, said those who had repented would be released.
“Remember that amnesty is granted once so if you go back and repeat the same, the act will not protect you,” Fr Kisembo said.
More than 90 people were killed in the region last month.