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NRA’s Col John Bwirizayo Passes On

Col John Bwirizayo is dead (Courtesy photo)

Former Commander of the Uganda People’s Defence Forces’ 409 Brigade Col John Bwirizayo has died.

The decorated soldier who fought in the 5 year bush war that brought the current NRM government to power, order passed away at Nakasero Hospital on Sunday Morning.

The UPDF spokesperson and former close colleague of the deceased, more about Brig Richard Karemire described the cause of his death as ‘natural causes.’

He however declined to divulge more information about the departed Colonel’s life and health, demanding that we respect his privacy.

“Let us mourn our departed colleague; all you should know is that he will be afforded a decent send-off by the UPDF,” Karemire told us on phone.

The late Col Bwirizayo served as commander of the UPDF’s 409 Brigade in Arua, West Nile in the mid-2000s.

He had previously been deployed as Commander in Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in the late 1990s, where he commanded Kisinga Sector, in the controversial incursion in the neighbouring country that ended in 2001.

The deceased was also a member of the Ugandan Bible Society.

Col Bwirizayo was among the few “elites” that joined then rebel leader Yoweri Museveni at the start of the protracted NRA guerrilla war in the early 1980s.

He joined the war as a fresh Political Science Graduate from Makerere University together with among others Maj Gen Benon Biraaro, Kenneth Gariyo, and Major John Kazoora.

Despite being initially despised as “intellectualists” by NRA commanders including Museveni himself — according to tales by Major Kazoora – the group later proved pivotal in the ultimate triumph of 1986.


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