Bunyoro Sites: The Katasiiha Fort and Caves.


The Katasiha Fort and Caves are located in Hoima District about 3km on Hoima –Biiso-Butiaba/Kaiso-Tonya Road inside Miika Eco Resort Hotel presmises. The Fort and Caves were constructed by King Kabalega in 1894 as a hide out and defence line during the war with the British. The river before you reach the site provided the first line of defence for the King’s army. He extensively used the fort and caves to fight the war after he abandoned his palace at Mparo, Today the prestigious historical caves are maintained by Miika Eco Resort Hotel

The fierce Katasiha battle

Kabalega put up a fight at Katasiha, where he mobilized his soldiers to dig 8ft trenches, in protective enclaves – over 300 meters long and running in several directions. The fort was constructed within one month. Thereafter, Kabalega deployed the elite troops who were well drilled and supplied with adequate dry rations and other supplies.

The fighting was ferocious and, due to superior weapons and overwhelming numbers of the invading force, he was overwhelmed and the fort fully destroyed in 1894.

Kabalega had selected Katasiha due to its other natural advantages. It had a deep cave with many tunnels that helped him and his army to move from one command post to another. The nearby River Bigajuuka provided the first line of defence.

To avoid a head on collision with the enemy, Kabalega retreated to Budongo Forest and adopted mobile guerrilla warfare, drawing the invading force deeper and deeper into the kingdom, away from food and other supplies while avoiding any form of contact with them.

It appears he chose to wait for his expeditionary army still in Toro and Busoga to rejoin his main forces. He also expected the Baganda to return home within weeks, so he decided to wait on them. Evasive action, therefore, was a sign of deliberate planning rather than a weakness.

The first few weeks of the invasion, save for the Katasiha battle, were remarkable for the lack of major fighting. So much so that by the end of February 1894, the British, who had marched across southern Bunyoro to Lake Albert, considered one of their main objectives completed.

Omukama Kabalega remains Bunyoro unsung Hero.

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