Museveni lauds Col Engola, Amuka boys on LRA fight

The Defence state minister, Col (rtd) Charles Okello Engola. PHOTO BY ERIC DOMINIC BUKENYA

Oyam- President Museveni has lauded the Defence state minister, Col (rtd) Charles Okello Engola, for his role in the fight against the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) insurgents, which brought an end to the two-decade war in northern Uganda.

“I congratulate Col Okello Engola for fighting the Lord’s Resistance Army. Some people were supporting the rebels; they wanted Uganda to be like Somalia, to be like [Democratic Republic of] Congo, to be like South Sudan. The result of a country being like that is what you see. We have got one million South Sudanese here (Uganda) in refugee camps,” Mr Museveni said.

The President noted that rebellion can destroy a nation.
“These South Sudanese who are here are they not wasting time? Therefore, those who supported the rebellion were really wasting our time. So, I want to salute people such as Col Engola, other army officers and the Amuka boys (paramilitary), the civilians who said: ‘rubbish, don’t waste our time’.”

The President made the remarks at the Oyam North Member of Parliament’s victory and thanksgiving ceremony held at Tetugu Primary School, Iceme Sub-county in Oyam District last Saturday.

In 2014, Col Engola who was at the time the LC5 chairman of Oyam District, demanded recognition from government for his role in ending the two-decade LRA insurgency in northern Uganda.

“The money that the government was wasting for fuelling the tanks, mambas and buffalos (armoured personnel carriers) to fight the Lord Resistance Army was saved by my intervention,” Col Engola told Daily Monitor in an interview on July 22, 2014.

He added: “Many people have been given medals for their contribution to development in this country. Can you imagine and nobody thinks about me?”
Col Engola, who commanded the UPDF 501 Brigade whose headquarter was at Opit in Gulu District, claimed he rescued more than 400 children from the LRA in 2002 and 2003.

He retired from the army in 2007 and contested for the Oyam District seat on the National resistance Movement ticket, winning by 93 per cent.
In 2016, he was elected MP for Oyam North.
On Saturday, Col Engola organised a ceremony to thank the Lord for listening to his prayers.

However, during the thanksgiving ceremony, he asked President Museveni to deal with a minister whom he did not name, accusing him (minister) of hijacking a hospital meant for his constituency in Oyam District.
Col Engola said the sharp-looking minister grabbed the proposed hospital which was to be constructed in Iceme Sub-county, his birthplace, and shifted it to another location.

The unnamed minister further allegedly confused Prime Minister Ruhakana Rugunda with a letter purportedly from President Museveni directing that the proposed hospital be removed from Iceme and taken elsewhere, according to Col Engola.
Sinohydro Corporation Limited, the Chinese firm constructing the Karuma power project, was to build a health facility near the project site as part of their corporate social responsibility.

According to Col Engola, the community in Oyam had already donated 100 Square acres of land to the project which was “technically approved” by the minister of Health, Dr Jane Aceng.

“But there is a minister who says she is very close to you and she can remove anything from Lango, which is very dangerous,” he added.