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We have punished Brig. Okoya’s killers – Museveni

President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni at the state reburial of Brig. Okoya and his wife Anna Akello Okoya in Gulu. Photo via @KagutaMuseveni

Gulu, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni has told the people of the Acholi Sub-region that those suspected to have orchestrated the killing of Brig. Gen Pierino Okoya and other innocent Ugandans got punished and “never lived” to succeed in life.

The President made the remarks on Friday while presiding over the state reburial of Brig. Okoya and his wife Anna Akello Okoya at his ancestral home in Bongo-tyet village in Palaro Sub-County, Gulu District.

Gen. Okoya was gruesomely murdered on January 25th, 1970, along with his wife Anna at his home in Koro village, then Gulu District, now in Omoro district.

The assassination of Brig. Okoya who was Uganda’s Army Second Infantry brigade commander in Masaka during the Milton Obote regime was allegedly masterminded by former President Idi Amin, who was then the Army commander.

Speaking to hundreds of mourners who attended the reburial cermony, President Museveni said those who killed Gen. Okoya including Amin got punished and lost it in life. He said Brig. Okoya was a soldier who had potential in life citing that he grew in ranks at a tender age.

According to President Museveni, while Okoya’s killers took his life over ill motives, they didn’t stand to be celebrated today arguing that only those who do good are remembered for their characters.

He however noted that Uganda’s problem and other African countries started on a bad foundation at Independence because the political leaders then never had enough time to prepare themselves and only emphasized the politics of identity, tribes, and religion instead of unity.

The President said the politics of identity, religion, and tribes led to the killings of many innocent people in the country in the past which were uncalled for at the time if the leaders focused on uniting the country.

President Museveni promised that the government would build a technical school in Palaro Sub- County in memory of Brig. Gen Okoya. This was after the area LCI Chairperson of Bongo-tyet village and the Woman Member of Parliament for Gulu District Sharon Laker Balmoi made a request for a technical school to be built to carry on the legacy of Bri. Okoya in his home village and the Acholi Subregion.

Gulu Archdiocese Archbishop John Baptist Odama who was the main celebrant during a sermon commended the President for his initiative in facilitating the reconciliation between the Lamogi and Palaro clans who hadn’t been at peace since the death of Okoya. He says the reburial ceremony should send a message of unity and harmony among different people in the country.

The State Minister for Foreign Affairs Henry Okello Oryem notes that misfortunes had bedeviled the region owing to the delayed decent reburial of Gen Okoya and his wife Akello who had been gruesomely murdered.

Okello said with the government stepping in to give a decent reburial, there will be prolonged peace and healing among the people of the Acholi Sub-region and a lasting reconciliation with other neighbors.

Chief Justice Alfonse Owiny-dollo noted the initiative towards holding the reburial and having blood compensation for the death of Brig. Okoya has helped to heal the wounds between the people of Palaro clan and those of Lamogi in Amuru.

Pageya Clan Chief Yusuf Adek Okwonga, who has been key in brokering reconciliation between the Palaro clan and the Pujwani clan whose son, Lt. Raymond Oryem was suspected to have shot dead Okoya commended the government for facilitating the reconciliation.

He said the reburial of Okoya and his wife marks a new dawn for peace, and healing in the Acholi and an end to further gruesome murder of sons of the region.

The President also commissioned a 200 million shillings furnished house built for the family members of Brig. Okoya by the UPDF engineering brigade at his ancestral home in Bongo-tyet village.

Brig. Okoya’s casket was lowered with a 11 gun salutes fired by the Special Forces Command Artillery Brigade.