Maj Gen Ali Bamuze, the former commander of the Uganda National Rescue Front (UNRF) II rebel group, has died.
Bamuze died on Sunday evening after collapsing at J&M Airport Road Hotel , a family friend said, before the military confirmed the death last night.
“It’s true he has passed on but I have no details [about the cause and circumstance],” said army spokesman Paddy Ankunda, adding: “He was a peace lover, which is why he led his fighters out of the bush. We shall remember him for that.”
Bamuze was integrated into the UPDF after a December 2002 peace pact with government, which resulted in the creation of Yumbe District, and the Ugandan army assigned him to oversee ex-combatants’ affairs.
Maj Ibrahim Abiriga, the former Yumbe RDC, where Bamuze hailed from, and another Bamuze relative, separately said they were told the general collapsed on the steps of J&M Airport Road Hotel where he had been attending a meeting on Wealth Creation that rolled over three days and concluded yesterday.
He missed a step, fell and began vomiting blood, said Toto Adrisi, a relative and son to former vice president Mustapha Adrisi. Bamuze’s body was taken to Mulago Hospital mortuary for postmortem.
Presidential spokesperson Lindah Nabusayi was not available on phone, and Maj Chris Magezi, the spokesman of the Special Forces Command that provide security at State House, said he was not in the know of what happened. Mr Caleb Alaka, a legal adviser to UNRF II during the peace talks, said last night that Bamuze on Friday requested his presence at a meeting at State House for following up some unfulfilled pledges under the 2002 pact.
“I told Bamuze I had other commitments but I would advise on whatever they agreed with the President, only to be told he is dead,” Mr Alaka said.
Second Deputy Prime Minister Moses Ali, who has worked closely with Bamuze for 47 years, as senior leaders of two different rebel groups and a couple of government armies, said the late was a “very brilliant and confident battle commander. This is a big loss.”
Bamuze was Gen Ali’s instructor in Moroto when the latter enlisted in the military in 1968, and eventually became the Chief of Staff of the Moses Ali-led Uganda National Rescue Front I rebels, the precursor to UNRF II.
UNRF I surrendered to the National Resistance Army (now UPDF) in December 1986, and its 1,200-strong 73rd battalion was integrated into the army.
Gen Ali was later arrested on treason charges, prompting Bamuze to escape to the Democratic Republic of Congo, before relocating to found UNRF II rebel group.