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Zombo Town Council Roundabout [Courtesy Image]

Zombo rebel leader moved to Kampala after contracting COVID-19

News | The Northern Link UG| A rebel group leader who attacked UPDF detach in Zombo last year has been evacuated to Kampala after contracting COVID-19.

Colonel Malik Atocho, the alleged commander of the attack on the UPDF barracks in Zombo in March 2020 that left four Soldiers dead, was whisked off from Arua hospital on Friday evening under tight UPDF security for further management in Kampala after his condition deteriorated.

Col. Atocho, based in DR Congo managing a rebel group, reportedly handed himself to authorities in Zombo early this week for treatment after showing signs of COVID-19. On being tested, he was reportedly found to be COVID-19 positive and admitted at Paidah Health Center 4 for one day before he was transferred to Arua regional referral hospital COVID-19 treatment center for better management.

After spending three days on oxygen at Arua hospital Covid19 treatment center, Atocho’s condition did not improve forcing the authorities to refer him for further management at an unknown COVID-19 Center in Kampala.

Residents in Arua City were taken by surprise on Friday evening on seeing an Ambulance with a siren driving towards Kampala under a fully armed Land cruiser escort.

Martin Oroch, the Resident City Commissioner Arua, confirmed Colonel Atocho to Kampala but declined to divulge further details.

“We indeed had him under our custody here at the hospital for some days but his condition has not improved that’s why he is being transferred to Kampala,” said Oroch.

Reports indicate that due to lack of treatment in the rebel hideout in DR Congo near Zombo district, Atocho decided to cross to Uganda and was identified by the locals who know him and they later alerted the security officials who ordered him to be transferred to Arua.

It’s believed some of the rebels numbering over four hundred escaped to DR Congo after attacking the UPDF detach in Zombo in March last year though, 23 of them were later arrested inside DR Congo, brought to Uganda, and later flown to an unknown destination in a UPDF Chopper.

The UPDF barracks in Zombo that was overrun in March last year

The 409 UPDF Brigade in West Nile is reportedly involved in intelligence coordination in DR Congo to locate the base of the rebels. On the fateful day of 6th March 2020, the rebels who were based in the jungles of Ajere, Nyapea, and Janguokoro in Zombo and parts of DR Congo armed with machetes, bows, arrows, and clubs launched a surprise attack on the UPDF detach and killed four officers. The army commanded by Major Cease Olweny later called for re-enforcement from UPDF fourth division and launched an air raid inside Congo, killing 23 of the attackers and captured 21.

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