On Thursday morning, woke up to shocking news of the demise of the former bush war hero, Lt. Col (Rtd) Ahmed Kashilingi who played a pivotal role in bringing the current government in power.
The news of the death of the National Resistance Army (NRA) hero was put to light by his brother, Tanazio Biryabarema who said that Lt. Col Kashilingi died on Wednesday night after a short illness.
Lt. Col Kashilingi was praised by Minister of Security Maj Gen Jim Muhwezi as a brave and dedicated soldier whose efforts saw them topple the Obote II’s and the subsequent Gen Tito Okello Lutwa’s governments in 1986.
“I am saddened to announce the passing of comrade Lt Col (rtd) Ahmed Kashilingi. He was a brave and dedicated soldier. He served his country until now when he has gone be with his creator,” he tweeted on Thursday morning.
Who was Lt Col Kashilingi?
According to the Military and Security History of Uganda, Lt Col. Ahmed Kashilingi (RO/0040) was born in Rukungiri district and completed his A-level Education at Kigezi College Butobere (Siniya) in 1967 and travelled to Mbarara hoping to join the Uganda Prisons services however he failed because of his height.
He did not go back to Rukungiri but stayed with relatives in Mbarara. While there, he heard of an Army recruitment drive ongoing in the town. He rushed into town only to find that the process had already ended but that didn’t stop him this time.
When an order came for the recruits to board trucks destined for training school, he simply boarded as though he too had been selected. This marked the beginning of his career. His training would see him train in the UK (admin course), Iraq and Libya (commando courses) in the 1970s.
After the fall of Amin in 1979, Kashilingi was arrested and detained at Luzira after a Government directive ordered former UA soldiers to report to duty. After months of torture, Kashilingi escaped along with many others and walked over 300km to Rukungiri where he went into hiding.
When Andrew Kayira formed UFM, Kashilingi joined alongside other former Uganda Army soldiers Kasirye Ggwanga, Stephen Ndugutse & George Nkwanga. In 1980, Kashilingi met an old acquaintance, Joy Mirembe, who recruited him into the PRA/NRA where he became a legendary commander.
His prime role in Museveni’s gorilla war
Lt. Col. Ahmed Kashilingi, RO 040, joined the National Resistance Army (NRA) bush war 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.
Kashilingi’s first known major operation took place in 1982 when the Chairman of High Command (CHC), Yoweri Museveni, sent him on a mission to look for medicine and medical personnel shortly after his return from London.
Kashilingi then commanded fighters who raided Nakaseke Hospital. The attack yielded much-needed medicines and also resulted in the recruitment of the first medical personnel of the NRA including Lt Col. Dr Ronald Bata and Major Ondoga Ori Amaza.
When the NRA raided Masindi Army Barracks on February 2, 1984, Kashilingi remained behind to protect the CHC, the High Command headquarters, and the sick bay. He was left with only two platoons (70 soldiers) because they didn’t anticipate any attack from Uganda National Liberation Army.
The UNLA raided their base where Museveni was before the triumphant Masindi main force of 700 fighters returned. The UNLA group that attacked Museveni and threw the NRA into panic was commanded by Lt. Col. John Ogole.
The battle that went on for several hours made the sick and Museveni flee for their dear lives. In this process, many of Museveni’s guards were killed including one who was carrying his briefcase. But the survival of the sick and Museveni was entirely based on Lt. Col Kashilingi’s fighting skills he exhibited to protect his principal.
As the march towards Kampala gained momentum in 1985, he commanded the NRA 5th battalion in one of the fiercest battles of the war at Katonga Bridge on Masaka-Mbarara road before being tasked with blocking Entebbe road during the final rebel onslaught on Kampala in January 1986.
In 1992, he was charged with treason and imprisoned for years under tough conditions before his acquittal in 1995. Years later, he served in the Ministry of Security where he worked as an advisor.
The post PROFILE: Who was Lt. Col Ahmed Kashilingi, a bushwar hero who played a pivotal role in bringing Museveni’s government to power appeared first on Watchdog Uganda.