New Vision (Uganda), July 2, 2003
By Nathan Etengu
More than 50 abducted children were yesterday rescued by the UPDF from the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels in a fierce fight at Oditel, Katakwi, some 48 miles north of Soroti town.
Third Division chief Col. Andrew Gutti said the 19th battalion rescued the children.
He said the children were to be brought to Soroti from where arrangements would be made to re-unite them with their families.
“We want them brought here so that the unit can continue to pursue the rebels who have headed towards Olilim in Lira.
He said some of the fleeing rebels on Monday ambushed a bus on the Lira-Kotido road killing the driver and a turn-boy.
Gutti said most of the rebels who entered Teso about two weeks ago had either been killed or forced to flee back towards Pader district.
“They realised that the Teso region was too hostile for them. Their only hope was therefore to sneak back before they were trapped,” Gutti said in an interview at the Soroti Flying School.
He said the army ensured that the rebels did not wreak havoc in Teso. He also commended the local community.
He said self-styled rebel Brigadier Vincent Otti had about 70 fighters while Charles Tabuley had about 50. He said other junior rebel commanders had fewer men.
“As of now, the whole of Teso region is free from the rebels, save for a few places in Obalanga. It was easy to drive out the rebels from the Teso region because of the co-operation by the local leaders,” Gutti said.
He commended the Teso MPs and other leaders in the region for returning home to join the army in flushing out the rebels.
“If we had such co-operation from other leaders in the country, the rebellion would not have persisted in northern Uganda,” he said.