Anthony Kyakabale was promoted to Colenel and retired. (Photo/ Twitter: @Snduhukire)

President Museveni has promoted former UPDF renegade officer Lt Col Anthony Kyakabale to the rank of Colonel and retired him from the army.

Lt Col Kyakabale declared war on Museveni’s government in 2001 and went into exile where he stayed for 14 years, but was pardoned last year and quietly returned to Uganda, settling to a quiet civilian life in his home village of Rushebeya, Rwamucucu sub county of Kabale district.

And today, at a ceremony held at Ministry of defense headquarters in Mbuya, Kampala, Col Kyakabale and other Uganda People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) officers were pipped by the Chief of Defense Forces (CDF) General Katumba Wamala, in the company of their spouses and relatives.

A total of 692 officers were promoted four days after Mr Museveni was sworn in as Uganda’s president for the next five years. They include one Lieutenant General, one Major General, 11 Brigadiers, and 41 Colonels, 37 Lieutenant Colonels, 277 Majors, 321 Captains and three Lieutenants.

Who is Col. Kyakabale

Registered as RO/00058 in the army, which makes him one of the pioneers of the Luweero bush war, Col Kyakabale fled the country shortly after the 2001 elections that pitted his NRA comrade Dr Kizza Besigye (RO/00098) against his commander-in-chief, President Museveni (RO 0001).

Kyakabale was one of the 27 armed NRA guerrillas that launched an attack on Kabamba barracks in 1981, sparking off the five-year guerrilla war that brought NRM to power in January 1986.

Under the command of Gen Elly Tumwine, Kyakabale was in February 1981 chosen to fire the only RPG the rebels had in an ambush at Kyekumbi in Lwamata, Kiboga district. The RPG hit a moving lorry that was carrying Tanzanian soldiers on a counter-insurgency mission. When he disagreed with the government in 2001, Lt Col Kyakabale and two other bush war comrades, Col Edison Muzoora (deceased) and Col Samson Mande (exiled in Sweden) sneaked into Rwanda and declared a rebellion against President Museveni.

With rising tensions between Kigali and Kampala, the trio alongside 10 other dissidents relocated to Sweden in May 2003. Back home, they were wanted for treason and were linked to a shadowy rebel outfit, People’s Redemption Army (PRA), which was said to be operating from eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

They were accused of working with Col Besigye, who was at the time exiled in South Africa, to overthrow the Museveni government. Two years later, Besigye returned to lead FDC into the 2006 elections but was arrested and charged with rape and treason. He was arrested again recently and remanded to Luzira on similar charges.