KAMPALA- The commander of Uganda National Liberation Army (UNLA) Special Brigade that dislodged National Resistance Army rebels from Luweero District in 1983 is dead.
Lt Col John Charles Ogole passed on yesterday morning in London, United Kingdom, where he has been living in exile for the last 29 years. He was 69.
His sister, Ms Gertrude Alori, who also lives in the UK, said the deceased, who has been receiving treatment for cancer, was to celebrate his 70th birthday tomorrow.
“Ogole is dead, he is no more. He passed away at St. Charles Hospice where he has been receiving prostate cancer treatment,” Ms Aloi said.
A family statement read: “It is with deep sorrow that the Ogole family announces the death of their beloved father, Lieutenant Colonel John Charles Ogole.” They said funeral arrangements would be communicated later.
Mr Ben Wacha, the former Oyam North MP and a relative of the deceased, said Ogole had for the last three months been unwell. “He has been in and out of hospital,” Mr Wacha said on phone.
The once brilliant battle tactician and chief strategist of the UNLA during the peak of the war that brought President Museveni into power fled into exile in 1985 after the Obote II government was deposed by military junta Gen Tito Okello Lutwa.
Late last year, Ogole was seen in a picture with the renegade General David Sejusa, who is also in exile in London. Gen Sejusa and Col Ogole fiercely fought on different sides during the Luweero war where Gen Sejusa was seriously injured. But the two lived as friends in London after finding themselves both in exile.
Plans to return the body
The deceased’s brother, Lt (rtd) Martin Okello, who lives in Iceme, Oyam District, expressed fears that the government may not allow the body to be brought home for burial.
But Northern Uganda State Minister Rebecca Amuge Otengo said “there is no way” the government can refuse the body to be brought home for burial. “The President is a forgiving person,” she said.
The army spokesperson, Lt Col Paddy Ankunda, could not confirm whether the deceased would be accorded a military burial. “At the moment, I cannot confirm,” he said.
Ogole was also the head of Lango Elders Council, an organiaation of Lango elders living in the UK.
Career in brief
Role in the army: Col Ogole joined the army in the mid-1960s and served in various capacities including Chief Clerk, Adjutant, Battalion Commanding Officer, Deputy Director of Records, Chief of Personnel and Brigade Commander UNLA.
Exile: He fled the country after the 1985 coup in which Milton Obote was overthrown and was given political asylum in UK where he has lived till his death.