As efforts to fight the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) in the jungles of the Democratic Republic of Congo continue, the Amnesty Commission Uganda is pushing to normalize the lives of the ADF returnees in Kasese district.
30 former ADF combatants (returnees) in Kasese District have received resettlement packages from the Amnesty Commission Uganda. The beneficiaries are from the Sub counties of Kitholu and Kirararo.
The packages, which include household items and agricultural tools, are provided under a $4.2 million grant by the World Bank Multi-Country Demobilization and Reintegration Program (MDRP).
The group of returnees was given assortments of hand hoes, sewing machines, and spray pumps to help keep them busy in productive work and divert their minds from thinking about going back to the bush.
The regional coordinator for the Amnesty Commission, Ronald Ssekatawa said the program which started in January 2005 aims at providing broader support to the commission in its work towards building peace and reconciliation and to help former rebels to return to civilian life.
Ssekatawa said the group has been under monitoring by the government in their respective areas since their integration into the community.
The Commissioner Amnesty Uganda, Monsignor. Thomas Kisembo said they have also given the ex-combatants 263,000 Shillings, maize, and beans seedlings for commercial purposes.
Msgr. Kisembo said the ex-combatants have also been given certificates that can enable them to be enrolled in several government and non-government programs.
One of the beneficiaries, Nzyabake Fabis, who was abducted by the rebels says she intends to use the skills and financial support to venture into a retail shop business.
The commission has received a total of 2,450 former Allied Democratic Forces-ADF rebels in the Kasese region and more than 27,000 across the country since its inception in 2016.
Another beneficiary Edredah Mbambu from Kitholu is grateful to the Amnesty Commission and government for the resettlement support. She says she is now able to restart her life again but also act as an inspiration to others who are still in combat.
“I want to thank the government for giving me second chance and bringing me back and also for helping to rehabilitate me, now I can restart my life in a better and positive way and inspire others to leave the bush,” said Mbambu.
Henry Basaliza Araali, a Demobilization, and Resettlement Team Leader says that they are now working with other partners to train the ex-ADF rebels in interlocking stabilized soil block technology, craft making, and tailoring for economic integration under the skills training project.
The commission was established by the Amnesty Act in 2000 as a tool to end rebellions in Uganda by encouraging rebels to lay down their arms without the fear of prosecution for crimes committed during the fight against the government.
The commission and its beneficiaries thank the current Government for making their lives and work better and easier.