Former spy master, Gen David Sejusa, and former Forum for Democratic Change party president Kizza Besigye have been tasked to publicly apologize for the massacres orchestrated by the National Resistance Army (NRA) during two decades of insurgency in northern Uganda, according to Gulu District chairperson, Martin Ojara Mapenduzi.
His call follows what he described as “confession” made by former two top army officials in the NRA now Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) whose videos were played as part of the defence testimony in the ongoing trials of former Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel commander Dominic Ongwen at the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The former LRA commander faces 70 charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity allegedly committed in northern Uganda.
Last week, ICC judges played a video in which Gen Sejusa, Maj Gen Pecos Kutesa and Rtd Col Dr Besigye, blamed government for the two decade insurgency in northern Uganda.
In the video, according to Mr Mapenduzi, the trio, who were then active in the army gave harrowing testimonies of how UPDF soldiers while flushing out the LRA burnt and killed civilians in dug out trenches.
Mr Mapenduzi was part of political, cultural and religious leaders selected by ICC within Acholi Sub-region to attend proceedings of Ongwen’s trial at The Hague last week.
Others were Gulu Archdiocese head John Baptist Odama, former northern Uganda Diocese Bishop Nelson Onono Onweng and Acholi Paramount Chief David Onen Acana II.
“What they stated were clear testimonies of the atrocities committed by the NRA soldiers against the people of northern Uganda, they calmly narrated and confirmed with full knowledge that indeed they [NRA] committed serious crimes,” Mr Mapenduzi said while addressing the press in Gulu Town yesterday.
“These testimonies are indirect acknowledgement and confession made by these top army officials. I, therefore, demand that the three leaders show good example and take lead in the spirit of reconciliation, public apology be made to the people of northern Uganda for either playing direct roles or for refusing to denounce such acts at the time they were being committed,” Mr Mapenduzi added.
He noted that for decades, President Museveni and his commanders have never come out to publicly acknowledge the atrocities they committed and have even never attempted to apologise for the maltreatment and the dehumanisation of the people of the north yet they have continued to live with painful memories.
He also tasked President Museveni to publicly acknowledge and apologise to the people of the north and demonstrate his commitment by taking steps to bring to book the perpetrators of the alleged crimes.
“These testimonies should kick-start the process of truth telling and national reconciliation for the good of the country,” he said.
Both Gen Sejusa and Dr Besigye could not be reached for comments as their known phone contacts were switched off.