Former ADF Rebels Recount Harrowing Experiences as They Reintegrate into Society

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Former ADF Rebels Recount Harrowing Experiences as They Reintegrate into Society
Courtesy Photo

Former ADF rebels, recently rehabilitated, have shared harrowing accounts of coercion, brutal battles, and their fight for survival. These stories come as 30 former rebels, captured by the UPDF in Congo, are reintegrated, with plans underway for them to start new lives. Among these are 13 Congolese nationals set to be repatriated and 17 Ugandans, five of whom have been granted amnesty certificates.

Logose Aisha, a 29-year-old mother of two, is among those rescued last year by the UPDF in collaboration with the Congolese army. Aisha was deceived by her husband with promises of employment and given 300,000 UGX for transportation. She left her family in search of a better life but ended up in the clutches of the rebels.

"I was shocked upon arrival when I realized my husband was associated with the rebel camp," Logose recounted. "Despite my reluctance, I was forced to comply due to his coercion. Eventually, he abandoned me, leaving me under the rebels' control."

Logose was armed and forced into continuous battles. "We were told we had to march to Madina. The journey lasted several days, and we were constantly ambushed by Ugandan and Congolese forces," she said. In November 2023, she and her companions surrendered to the UPDF.

Logose's experience mirrors that of Wamongo Sinani, a 17-year-old from Bugiri, who was taken by his father into the rebellion for three years before surrendering to the UPDF last year.

Although both have learned various skills during their rehabilitation, Logose expressed anxiety over whether she will ever see her husband again, who is reportedly imprisoned. "I worry about the future and whether I'll ever reunite with him," she said.

The reintegration efforts have been supported by the Bridgeway Foundation, with the 17 Ugandans and 13 Congolese receiving aid. Five Ugandans have received official amnesty certificates.

Col. Deo Akiiki, Deputy Spokesperson of the UPDF, and Draku Moses, Spokesperson of the Amnesty Commission, have issued stern warnings to the forgiven rebels. "Any future criminal activities will be prosecuted. The amnesty covers only past actions committed in the wilderness," Moses stated.

This group is the third batch of former ADF rebels rehabilitated by the UPDF, following 48 in May 2023 and 75 in December 2023. Today's group includes 13 Congolese nationals (8 men and 5 women) and 17 Ugandans (9 men and 8 women). Among them, 9 are 18 years or older, 12 are aged between 11 and 17, and 9 are under 10 years old.

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