INTRODUCTION: As the Ugandan government requests for overseas military training assistance remain largely unheeded, a sustained and growing guerrilla campaign is being waged in the Ugandan countryside.
GV Guerrillas in camouflage emerging from jungle with rifles and rocket launchers
GV Guerrillas take cover and are instructed by military officers
CU Guerrillas lying in grass and moving forward into battle
SV Guerrillas carrying belongings on patrol through jungle (2 shots)
SV Food prepared at guerrilla camp (2 shots)
SV Guerrillas playing cards with soldier
SV Army officer checking soldiers' rifles
SV Guerrillas with belongings arrive at camp
SV Armed guerrillas arriving back at camp
SV Guerrillas undergoing karate training (3 shots)
SV Troops with guerrilla chanting and waving rifles
Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
Background: INTRODUCTION: As the Ugandan government requests for overseas military training assistance remain largely unheeded, a sustained and growing guerrilla campaign is being waged in the Ugandan countryside. Guerrilla forces, gaining in strength, have set up several camps in the countryside, one only 16 kilometres (10 miles) outside Kampala, the country's capital and seat of President Milton Obote's government.
SYNOPSIS: The guerrillas, members of the National Resistance Army, claim that all their arms have been captured from government troops. Their rifles, rocket launchers, machine guns and grenades, made in several countries, are all Ugandan Army standard issue.
The National Resistance Army, numbering more than 1,000, has vowed to overthrow of the Obote government. The government is playing down the guerrilla threat, claiming the insurgents' attacks are clashes within the Ugandan Army itself. In the area around the consequent there have been many guerrilla raids. Garrisons and police stations have been over-run, army convoys ambushed and heavy casualties inflicted on security forces. The guerrillas remain constantly on the move to avoid direct confrontation with the army. They organise themselves into military training units, preparing daily for anti-government offensives.
The guerrillas appear to have the solid support of the villagers among whom they live. Food is plentiful, being supplied by peasant farmers and local resistance committees. Supplies of milk, meat, fruit and vegetables and even locally-distilled liquor are brought in daily. It is the support of the local people which may be the main reason for the guerrillas' successful campaign so far.
The guerrillas' training exercises, at their jungle hideouts, are usually commanded by senior police and army officers who have deserted. Weapons are few, with no apparent sign of any outside arms supply. Villagers reportedly pass on to the guerrillas those arms and ammunition left behind during army raids on small towns.
The guerrilla war began in February this year, less than two months after Milton Obote took power in a hotly-disputed election. Opposition parties' complaints of repression and arbitrary arrests came amid complaints of a rigged election victory for Obote's Uganda People's Congress. The National Resistance movement is headed by former President Yusufu Lule and former Defence minister Yoweri Museveni, both of whom are in exile. Most of the movement's leaders are within Uganda itself, working with the guerrilla fighters of the resistance army.
Morale at jungle camps is said to be high. The guerrillas have regular karate sessions and rigorous training exercises. In the past eight months, these men have come from their hidden jungle bases to stage dozens of attacks around central Kampala, and on coffee and banana plantations north-west of the city. With the closest guerrilla camp only 16 kilometres (10 miles) from Kampala, their presence must be uncomfortably close for the Obote government, which has labelled the guerrilla forces as "bandits" and "terrorists". Military observers calculate that the guerrilla forces around Kampala are not strong enough to topple the Obote government in the near future. But, helped by villages gathering information on the activities of government officials, soldiers and agents, they are capable of maintaining their harassment.