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Tanzania’s Retired General Tumainiel Kiwelu remembered for commanding a very complicated battle against Uganda’s Military Leader, Field Marshal Idi Amin has died aged 79 at his home in Morogoro. According to a statement signed by the Chief of Defense Forces (CDF), General Venance Mabeyo , Gen. Kiwelu died on May 18.
Gen. Kiwelu served Chief of Staff, Commander of the infantry, Brigade Commander, Chief Commander of Chakaza operation (Kagera war). The deceased joined the army on July 1, 1963 and served for 34 years, nine months and seven days to the date when he retired from the army on November 3, 1997.
The final respects for deceased will be paid at Lugalo General Military Hospital today May 22, he is expected to be buried at Mbezi Louis Cemeteries in Dar es Salaam. In October 1978 Uganda invaded the Kagera Salient in northern Tanzania, initiating the Uganda-Tanzania War. The Ugandans met light resistance and in November President Idi Amin of Uganda announced the annexation of all Tanzanian land north of the Kagera River.
The Tanzanians organised a counter-offensive later in November and successfully ejected the Ugandan forces from their country. Relations between Tanzania and Uganda had been tense since then-Colonel Amin overthrew Ugandan President Milton Obote in 1971. Tanzanian President Julius Nyerere supported Obote and backed an unsuccessful attempt by him to regain power in 1972.
Uganda also disputed its border with Tanzania, claiming that the Kagera Salient–a 1,865 square kilometre (720 sq mi) stretch of land stretch of land between the official border and the Kagera River 29 kilometres (18 mi) to the south–should be ceded to Uganda.
Tanzania Peoples Defense Forces’ (TPDF) parade after the fall of Kampala.
Tensions remained high through 1978, when Amin’s regime started rapidly declining due to economic problems and dissent in the armed forces. In early October Ugandan forces began making small incursions into the Kagera region. On 25 October the Uganda Army launched a large attack over the border, but was repulsed by Tanzanian artillery.
The Ugandans attacked again on 30 October, quickly overwhelming the small Tanzanian contingent in the region and completely occupying the Kagera Salient. Amin declared that Uganda was annexing the region, and shortly thereafter the Ugandans destroyed the only bridge over the Kagera River, easing their commanders’ concerns about a Tanzanian counter-offensive. The Uganda Army pillaged the land, stealing cattle, automobiles, and personal belongings from homes.
Approximately 1,500 civilians were shot and killed, and thousands more fled south. Tanzania was caught unprepared for war but Nyerere–after being assured by his commanders of his country’s military capability to react–ordered a mobilisation and instructed the Tanzania People’s Defence Force (TPDF) to prepare a counter-offensive. Mozambique sent a battalion to Tanzania as a gesture of support.
The Organisation of African Unity attempted to foster a diplomatic solution but Nyerere rejected attempts at mediation.
Uganda Army officers concentrated on looting and ignored intelligence reports of Tanzanian plans, and thus were caught unprepared when the TPDF initiated Operation Chakaza commanded by General Tumainiel Kiwelu.
General Tumainiel Kiwelu will forever be remembered Tanzania and Uganda.