Uganda People's Democratic Army

Uganda People's Democratic Army

Uganda People's Democratic Army

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The Uganda People's Democratic Army (UPDA) was a rebel group operating in northern Uganda from March 1986 to June 1988.

In January, 1986, the government of Ugandan President Tito Okello was overthrown by the rebel National Resistance Army (NRA) under the command of Yoweri Museveni, which took the capital city of Kampala. By March 1986, NRA forces had occupied the traditional land of the Acholis, from which President Okello came. In the same month, former government Uganda National Liberation Army soldiers from Acholiland who had sought sanctuary in southern Sudan formed the rebel Uganda People's Democratic Army to force the NRA out of the North and regain the Acholi's previous status.

In August 1986, UPDA forces attacked government forces in the North with widespread popular support by the Acholi populace. While occupying NRA units had acted with more restraint than had been generally expected of them, they reacted with increasing brutality towards the population and rebels after the fighting began. Perhaps most notable was the massacre of 45 Acholi civilians by FEDEMU, formerly a small anti-Okello rebel group from the Luwero Triangle that had just been incorporated into the NRA, after the UPDA attacked the FEDEMU position. Such atrocities only encouraged the Acholi populace to support the rebellion.

Nevertheless, by late 1986, the UPDA had proved unable to retake towns, though it controlled much of the countryside, and was clearly losing. Many rebels deserted, and...
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