Background of the War in Northern Uganda:
For the last 21 years, a vast part of northern Uganda and particularly the Acholi community who inhabit it has experience one of African’s most horrified conflicts in the history. The war is between the rebel of Lord Resistance Army (LRA) and the government of Uganda. They mostly use children and militiamen to fight the war.
These children are illiterate and grown up in a world of war and violence and obscure intentions remain the children as they are seen as soft target. They normally live a very sad miserable life. There is a day to day death and destructions that the communities have lived with for 21 years. Burnt down schools and homes, destroyed business and ambushed vehicles, land mines victims and machetes hacked bodies, crowded internally displaced persons camps (IDP camp) and make shifts schools, are the surprising effect of the on going war in northern Uganda
Caught in the crossfire are the local communities, whom the rebels denounce for not raising against the government and who the government suspects of complicity in the rebellion. This has put the life and properties of the local community at great risk. They blame the local population for supporting them therefore they look at the community as their first target. Over the years the rebel have consistently abducted up to about 25,000 children to their ranks, while leaving death and destructions in their wake, on its part the government has responded by putting the local community in the internally displaced persons camps with the aims of providing protection while denying the rebels access to the local population. They have to rely on relief supply from international organisation. The community is very needy and increasingly vulnerable.
They don’t want to leave in camps, they want their freedom, they like digging in their gardens. Most people say they don’t enjoy the food distributed by WFP they want to grow their own food. IDP camps are humanitarian disastrous, toilet blocks sit reeking less than 100ft from the water sources. Children run filthy and naked, covered in easily curable skin diseases. Huts rest, in some cases inches apart, grass straw roofs sit a top the mud brick huts. In the 21 years down the line, a whole generation of northern Uganda children has grown up, knowing only war and violence, and nothing else in life, no other life than the diseases-ridden-crowded displaced persons camps. Joseph Kony and his commanders do not abduct and kill people; they make or order the abducted and brutaliz ehildren do it.
Testimonies from former child soldiers, aductees and orphans:
Okello Morris, 14 years old, abducted at home in Lalogi. “I witnessed the killing of my father before we finally left to Sudan. I was brutally beaten, trained and forced to kill. While in Sudan, we were forced to dig in and out of season. If you refused, you were killed! During engagements with U.P.D.F, I witnessed many my age perished during cross fire. I was shot twice on my leg before I was eventually rescued by the U.P.D.F. I was in the same camp with Kony himself. I thank God, that I am alive!
William, 15 years old student in a wheel chair; “At last my bones shall be buried in my mother land! I was shot twice on the legs – see for your self! When we were defeated by the U.P.D.F, I was in total pain! I tried to rolled, but by then I had lost a lot of blood! I was lucky that among the U.P.D.F who were pursuing us, was an Acholi soldier who was kind enough and ordered his colleague not to shoot me again or else he would be shot. That is why you are seeing me here!” he confidently reminded FRO
Abalo Mary: “I was a single mother of three children, one boy and two girls. Aged 11, 8 and 4 years, The night of 22nd April 2001 a group of solders putting on mixed clothing’s both civilians and army uniforms came and woke us up in the middle of the night. They asked me for money and food staffs, I didn’t have both, so I told them that am just a single mother with nothingand am poor. They misinterpreted me to be proud of my children. They first told me t
o kill myself, I failed to start dying, I asked myself, how could I start it but I failed to get the answer. The dog was barking at them ferousicly. They were 11 people total. One ordered me to kill the dog, which I did by squeezing its throat till it died, but left me with scratches all over my body. The cloth I was putting on was all torn. They ordered us to join them with my children we walked for about two kilometers. I was made to kill my own children all three of them and I was left some few kilometers away. I joined the army with the psychological and physical torture I had sustained.”
Listening to Youth: The Experiences of Young People in Northern Uganda
Summary Report by: Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children | September 2007
In many ways, young people in northern Uganda have been the group most deeply affected by the brutal two-decade conflict between the LRA and the Government of Uganda. Hundreds of thousands of young people have seen their communities attacked and destroyed, have lost parents and relatives to violence and disease, have been separated from their families and displaced from their homes.