Ahmed Kashillingi RO/0040, one of the fiercest NRA bush war veterans passed away on 3rd November 2022 at the age of 82.
Maj. Gen. (Rtd) Jim Muhwezi, the Minister for Security in a tweet described Kashillingi as a brave and dedicated soldier who served his country until the time of his death.
“I am saddened to announce the passing of comrade Lt Col (Rtd.) Ahmed Kashillingi. He was a brave and dedicated soldier. He served his country until now when he has gone to be with his creator. May Allah rest the soul of my departed comrade in eternal peace,” said the Minister.
According to close family, Kashillingi was born in Rukungiri district, went to Kigezi College Butobere where he completed his A’level in 1967.
Disqualified multiple times, Kashillingi tactically joined the Army
Following multiple rejections on grounds of being short, Kashillingi who had completed his A’level from Kigezi College Butobere did not stop attempting to join the army.
On another recruitment exercise where he arrived late, he was determined not to be left out that when the commander called out for the qualified recruits to undress their shirts and board the truck, the cunning Kashillingi undressed and tacitly boarded.
The commando in him did not betray him, he was handpicked by the commanding officer Col. Mesusera Arach after emerging as the lead in the first fitness test run.
Kashillingi Melted the Commanders Heart
Col. Arach was extremely impressed seeing the light-skinned Kashillingi leading the race, he instructed the army clerks to register him as the number one recruit. While the recruits were preparing to be taken for the nine-month military training, Col. Arach took Kashillingi to his home at Ruharo and lived with him for a week.
Col. Kashillingi finally joined the army and attended several courses that made him a lethal soldier. He attended courses in Jinja, England, Iraq and a one-year commando course in Libya. He was under the Marine Unit in Luzira before he joined the NRA in 1981 alongside Mugisha Muntu, Joram Mugume, Ivan Koreta, Jim Muhwezi, Kahinda Otafiire, Steven Kashaka, Pecos Kuteesa, Julius Chihandae and Peter Kerim.
He is listed in the UPDF Act as one of the 15 senior officers as at January 1986. Others are; Fred Mwesigye, Andrew Lutaaya, Gyagenda Kibirango, Samson Mande and Amin Izaruk.
After joining the NRA in 1981, Col. Ahmed Kashilingi first worked with Matayo Kyaligonza who operated around Mukono as the latter’s deputy. Kashilingi joined Kyaligonza’s zonal group around April 1981. The main task of this group was to divert the attention of the government soldiers from the main NRA.
Kashillingi attack on Police post with stones
According to veterans who worked under Kyaligonza and Kashilingi, they commanded a group of soldiers who did not carry guns except for the two that they had, an SMG and a pistol. Faced with multiple challenges then, the NRA had tasked Kashillingi and Kyaligonza to carry out urban attacks.
Kashillingi was tasked with using his commando experience to train recruits on how to use improvised skills. Using these commando tactics, in April 1981, they raided Kisoga Police post which they hit with stones and managed to take off with seven G3 guns..
Exceptionally Missions executed by Kashillingi
In the bush war, he fought and commanded several fierce battles including battle that helped the NRA capture Entebbe Airport. He is famously known for defending the then rebel leader Yoweri Museveni in 1984 when the UNLA forces commanded by the feared Lt. Col. John Ogole carried a surprise attack on Museveni’s camp while most of the NRA was away to attack Masindi.
With just two platoons, he managed to put up a formidable resistance in a battle that lasted for several hours to help the Chairman of the High Command escape from the ruthless UNLA soldiers to safety.
Kashillingi was also known for securing the rebels with the first major medical supplies after he successfully raided Nakaseke hospital in 1982. This raid saw the first recruitment of medical workers into the guerilla war. These included the then Medical Superintendent, Dr. Ronald Bata and Ondoga Ori Amaza.
After the war, being one of the few highly trained soldiers, Kashillingi was appointed Director of Records at the Republic House in Bulange which was the army headquarters.
Charged and acquitted of treason
However, in 1990, an arrest warrant was issued against him over allegations of treason that compelled him to flee to neighboring Congo. After a short stay in hiding in Congo, the
Ugandan authorities negotiated with the DRC officials to have Kashillingi extradited.
In 1991, Kashillingi was brought back to Kampala, charged with treason and sent to prison. In February 1995, he was acquitted on all counts.
Kashillingi’s last known appointment was when the President appointed him as a Technical Advisor to the Minister of Security.The commando now rests in power as his body awaits to be put to the ground at his ancestral home in Rukungiri.