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JUSTICE AND PEACE NEWS.

A NEWSLETTER OF THE JUSTICE & PEACE COMMISSION OF GULU ARCHDIOCESE (UGANDA)

OCTOBER 2005.

 

CONTENTS

 

  1. EDITORIAL
  2. FOURTH SUDAN-UGANDA RELIGIOUS LEADERS MEETING
  3. Uganda-CAN CALLS FOR ACTION IN NORTHERN UGANDA
  4. ST. HAS A HEART FOR FORMERLY ABDUCTED GIRLS
  5. IRC ASKS INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY TO INTERVENE IN KONY’S WAR
  6. THE UPDF DISABLES ME
  7. ARCHBISHOP ODAMA FORGIVES TESO POLITICIANS
  8. BISHOP JOSEPH FRANZELLI: A MAN OF DIALOGUE
  9. WHAT ITESO SAY ABOUT CATTLE RUSTTLING
  10. OUR ACTIVITIES IN SEPTEMBER
  11. CHRONONOLY OF RECENT EVENTS SEPTEMBER 2005

 

 

  1. EDITORIAL

 

WIN BY INTIMIDATION!

 

Most of Ugandan leaders lack negotiation skills. To be moderate, the word dialogue never exists in their vocabulary.

A leader may disagree with his subject, he gets annoyed and resorts to the intimidation skill: ‘we shall kill them; they will go six feet under the ground…’

Take the case of wrangle between the Gulu district councillors with the their chairman. It is reported that the Chairman, who also doubles for the District Reconciliation Peace Team (DRPT) of Gulu district, spoke with intimidating tone in a meeting of 9.9.2005 (cfr. Rupiny, sept.14-20, 2005, vol. 12, no. 50, page 5).

In Uganda, most leaders don’t discuss issues. Very often, they insult, and attack personalities. Moreover, a leader should bend totally to winning, even an enemy. It is not uncommon to hear the should be leaders in Uganda calling his subjects names: ‘swine’, ‘biological substance’, ‘anyanya’-poison, ‘ghost’, and the likes.

Again to refer to the Gulu district councillors’ case, one of them warned the LCV chairman not to threaten them since he, the chairman was just a mere impotent person; that the chairman should not think that he was the only one with a gun and able to kill!

Our leaders in Uganda can mean to degenerate into non-issues in the name of discussing serious issues. When the integrity of a leader is challenged, he would shoot back with matters of private affairs: when a woman councillor challenged her male LCV, the best answer she gets is being called a polyandrous.

Even in a family, a child may begin to cry, the best a parent can do is to get a stick and begin beating the child, thinking that such would solve the problems. In the same way a soldier would pull out a gun to scare off anybody who disagrees with him. Of course I may walk away I fear but never think that you have won me on your side.

This lack of negotiation skills is causing the country a lot. I am of the view that the civil strives in Uganda are due to lack of negation skill. Intimidation will never win.

Look, the LRA, by so abducting children, mutilating people, and killing them has never won the sympathy of anybody. Instead, they have caused people to isolate them.

It is high time Ugandan leaders learnt negotiation skills.

 

 

  1. FOURTH UGANDA – SUDAN RELIGIOUS LEADERS PEACE MEETING

Forty participants from Northern Uganda (Acholi, Teso, Lango and West Nile) took part in a cross-border peace meeting at Nimule (Sudan) from August 31st to September 3rd. Most of them were religious and cultural leaders. The event was organised by our Justice and Peace Commission of Gulu archdiocese in conjunction with the Catholic Diocese of Torit, who brought more than one hundred Sudanese leaders from the South. Three similar meetings took place in previous years: 2001, 2003 and 2004, always in Gulu. This was the first time that the event took place in Sudan.

 

It was also the first time to do it in a new setting of peace in Sudan, which is slowly emerging after 22 years of war that left more then two million people dead. As Archbishop Odama put it in his remarks, the Ugandans went to Sudan “to visit our grandparents’. “Our grandparents’ home is now quiet –the Archbishop remarked- and it should help the grandchildren (the Ugandans from the North) to achieve peace too”. People in Sudan rightly feel overjoyed because of their own peace agreement. “We never thought that we could sit at the same table to talk peace with the Arabs, but we did it”, one of the SPLA generals proudly said.

 

How the Sudanese reached their Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) was something Ugandans were anxious to hear about. Brigadier General Johnson Juma Okot, a senior SPLM/SPLA figure, elaborated on the main aspects: the Machakos protocol on separation of religion and State, which leaves the South free of the Sharia law; the issue of oil wealth sharing, which was agreed to be on an equal basis; the power sharing in a Government of national unity, and security issues, particularly the distribution of troops, which will see the SPLA taking full control of the South after two years. At the moment the SPLA is in a process of redeployment –partly jointly with the Sudan Armed Forces-, and soon they should undergo re-training to keep security in times of peace.

 

What about dealing with the LRA, still present in South Sudan and disturbing? Apart from good-intentioned promises that “in the future” former militias shall not be allowed to operate anywhere in Sudan, at the moment the SPLA –following the terms of the CPA- are more concerned with its own transformation and redeployment than with going on offensive against any threatening armed group. The Sudanese present at the meeting –from the counties of Juba, Torit, Ikotos, Magwi and others- told worrying tales of very recent killings, abductions and destruction by the LRA in their own villages. There was a strong feeling among the local participants from the affected counties that Kony’s LRA  still receives some military support from elements within the Sudan. They also expressed fears that they could easily link up with groups that have not accepted the CPA, citing remnants of the Equatorial Defence Force (EDF II). People who never moved away from their homes in twenty-two years of bitter war have become displaced in recent months because of the LRA. It is easy to find in South Sudan people whose views on how to deal with this insecurity are just the same as the ones one is likely to find among most Acholi people, with high praises and expectations on Betty Bigombe’s current mediation efforts.

 

If prospects for peace still appear blurred because of Kony’s marauding aggressive gangs –which most participants described as an “armed cult”- at least it was clear that relations between people from South Sudan and Northern Uganda could be brighter than ever. “Respect the boundaries, encourage the relationships”, was a much-repeated motto during the meeting. Ordinary people from both sides of the border have been meeting peacefully for decades and the new peace agreement in Sudan is boosting that already existing relationship. “The LRA atrocities should not prevent our brotherhood”, said a Sudanese leader who elaborated at length on mutual forgiveness and reconciliation. Arrangements are under way to bring together one hundred leaders from each side in another cross-border meeting due in Gulu in a few weeks time.

 

Not even Dr. John Garang’s recent death can break up that relationship. In sharp contrast with violent riots in Juba and Khartoum at the beginning of August and statements full of suspicion in some sections of the Uganda media, both ordinary people and the SPLA high officials express that the unfortunate death was “an accident” and that to know more details it is better to wait patiently for the final findings of the probe commission. The meeting ended on September 3rd with a funeral prayer for the late Dr. John Garang, presided over by Archbishop Odama. The requiem mass was attended by hundreds of mourners. Commenting on the flag of New Sudan (black for the people, white for peace, red for brotherhood, green for fertility and the star for the vision) the Archbishop of Gulu summed it this way: “African Sudanese must live in peace as brothers and sisters in this rich country, with a vision of unity and development. This is the message that Dr. Garang left for you. Follow it!” Time and again speakers compared Garang with Moses, who led his people to the promised land of peace but died before entering in it. It goes without saying that the new leader Gen. Salva Kiir was dubbed as the new Joshua. Biblical symbols are not uncommon when people find themselves facing new, challenging times. But it is more than superficial imagery. Feelings of unity and reconciliation in the new peaceful Sudan are for real: “Go back and tell all Ugandans that we are one people and we have no ill-feelings concerning Dr. Garang’s death”, said an SPLA brigadier. Col. Emilio Iga put it even clearer: “Whether you come from Gulu, West Nile, Pader, Kitgum, Lango or Teso, come back to Sudan to see your ancestors’ home”.

 

Fr. Carlos Rodriguez

 

 

 

3. Uganda-CAN calls for action in northern Uganda

 

The Uganda Conflict Action Network (Uganda-CAN) has called upon religious leaders and communities across the United States of America to make children in northern Uganda a priority. Uganda-CAN announced a weekend of prayer and action for peace in northern Uganda that was held in September 23rd to25th 2005. It asked religious communities to speak out, pray and mobilise to support the children in northern Uganda who have been target of the war for nearly two decades.

Its Director of operation in Uganda Stephen Okello said together with Uganda-CAN people should raise their voices to demand attention to this forgotten war. They are asking faith leaders across the U.S. and the world to break the silence speak and pray in solidarity with people in northern Uganda.

Over the last two decades, many children, nearing 30,000 have been abducted as a result of the Lord Resistance Army (LRA) rebel war, forced into soldiering and sexual slavery. Many of the girls abducted become pregnant and must care for their children while fighting a war they did not choose. Over 50,000 more children are forced to walk miles away every night into towns to sleep on streets, so as to avoid abduction.

According to Okello, the compaign is to ask religious leaders world over to speak to their communities about the plight of the northern Uganda children, while leading prayers and action towards a more peaceful future that affirms the dignity of the affected people. He said through phone calls, letter writing and demonstration, Uganda-CAN would work to demand that policy makers prioritise these suffering children.

Quoting Caitlin Rackish, Uganda-CAN religious outreach coordinator, Okello said, “For too long the children of northern Uganda have been forgotten and neglected by the world. By our silence, we are accepting the loss of a whole generation of kids.”

Beyond mobilising their communities, Uganda-CAN, a transcontinental advocacy network asked religious leaders to sign a declaration condemning the northern war. The declaration reads, “We refused to be silent anymore in the face of this gross assault on the integrity of God’s creation. In solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Uganda, we call for a more peaceful future that affirms the dignity and life of all. We condemn the use of child soldiers and call for a shift resolution of the conflict.”

Uganda-CAN was founded in May 2005 after five American undergraduate students were compelled to action after experiencing the horrors of war in northern Uganda. Shocked at the silence of the world community, these students saw an opportunity, working in partnership with Ugandans, to raise attention to the war and press for action to support a just and lasting peace. It also provides international resources and support.

 

  1. ST. MONICA HAS A HEART FOR FORMERLY ABDUCTED GIRLS

A chill win is beginning to blow over Everlyn Aya, the formerly abducted girl by the Lord Resistance army rebels. It is being whistled up by St. Monica Tailoring Centre. After being abducted thrice, Aya is now completing her studies as a tailor. She is studying at St. Monica and is being paid by the same institution.

Aya was abducted in 1990, 2000 and 2001 but in all, she managed to escape. She then left Ongako in Koch, Gulu district to come and stay in Aworanga where her parents are currently displaced in the IDP camp. It’s from here that she thought of studies. And in 2003, she came to St. Monica Tailoring Centre to ask the Rev. Sister in charge. Aya was then admitted and now she is in third year. St. Monica pays her tuition and in turn she stays at the centre during holidays to work for it.

Aya is not the only former abducted girl benefiting from studies in St. Monica. Three quarter of the 250 students in the centre are former abducted girls. Sixty of them are fresh from the bush. Thirty others are child mothers. Some of them were commanders with the LRA and two were former ‘wives’ to the LRA leader Joseph Kony. Each of them has three children. They are all benefiting from the goodwill rendered by St. Monica Tailoring Centre.

The current situation of the formerly abducted youth requires emergency responses at the national and international levels. The responses should contribute to long-term mechanisms for their empowerment.

Education should be first priority. Educational systems should be restored in all the areas affected by war. It’s to transform them as young people into skilled workforce. Economic livelihood is one of the top priorities that should be given to the formerly abducted youth in Acholi and other regions ravaged by the nearly 20-year old war. Programmes such as micro-credit loan, jobs training and economic infrastructure should begin now. Attention should therefore be paid to creating opportunities for youth oriented economic livelihood.

St. Monica Tailoring Centre is already doing this. Currently, thirty child mothers who earlier completed their tailoring course at the Centre are back for practical skilled training. The Centre is sponsoring their studies. In addition, there are a number of former abducted girls who work at the centre to get tuition. Other NGOs also pay these girls at St. Monica. They include justice and Peace Commission, World Vision and Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative (ARLPI) among others.

The in charge of St. Monica Tailoring Centre Sr. Rosemary Nyirumbe said a number of former abducted girls want to study but the Centre has limited facility and no enough money to sponsor them at once. She appeals to the community, NGOs and well-wishers to come to the aid of these disadvantaged girls.

According to Sr. Rosemary training these girls is a service to the community.  It’s a way of reintegration so that they fit into the community. Apart from tailoring, they are also taught catering. Business education and Secretarial courses are also at the centre. Entrepreneurship and Human resource Management is to be introduced soon. She said the centre is to be affiliated to Kyambogo University. 

St. Monica Tailoring Centre started in 1975 and was based at the Holy Rosary Parish in Gulu town until 1982 when it was moved to the present location on Lacor road. The idea for it came when the late bishop Kiyangire thought of a kind of activity that could promote the disadvantage women in northern Uganda. “At inception it emphasized a lot of tailoring because it was to teach women how to mend their clothes,” sr. Rosemary said. The Centre was then built with the help of Italian Missionary Volunteers, the Magenta. Comboni Sisters were running it. But six years ago, they handed it over to Gulu Archdiocese who mandated Sacred Heart Sisters to run it.

But now, a lot of practical skilled education introduced, targeting former girls abducted by the LRA and other disadvantaged women in the region. Among the courses are home management and sustainable agriculture. The women are taught agriculture to enable them make good use of land. After completion of the course, these women can become extension workers. Religious education in Luo has also been introduced. The Centre admits girls from primary seven to any levels including housewives.

A day care has been opened in the centre to care for the children of former abducted girls. There are about fifty of them currently at the Centre. After each lesson, the girls come out to breast-feed. In the class, teachers pay special attention to them because after being enslaved and subdued by the LRA rebels, they have become curious and always want to know if they are accepted in the community. They are grouped differently according their education level.” Some have confessed to their teachers that they could not read. That is why practical education is emphasized,” said Sr. Rosemary.

She said people are appreciating their work because they could not think that former soldiers with such low education background and especially those breastfeeding could be accepted in any institution.

Although all the child mothers could not  be taken for studies because of lack of space, they should now have hope. Sr. Rosemary plans to expand accommodation and other facilities for child mothers. She is currently raising fund and hopes by 2006; the Magenta missionaries may start the construction. 

 

  1. UPDF DISABLES ME

It was late evening on the twenty first of April this year. The sun was beginning to set. As I rode slowly back home, I saw some soldiers patrolling on the road. I was relieved as I approached them because I realised they were the government (UPDF) soldiers. I rode and came very close to them. Before I could pass, they stopped me and asked where I was going. I told them, “I am going back home. I am from town, shopping,” Opiyo Ajonga remembered. Before I could finish my statement, they came to me, block the road and began beating me. These were the soldiers I thought they were supposed to protect me. They were the soldiers I was so comforted on seeing them.

This is a story of a man now crippled by torture. He was beaten by the Uganda People’s Defence Forces’ (UPDF) soldiers. Opiyo Ajonga, 34, met the soldiers at Abuga in Custom Corner, about three kilometres from Gulu town centre. It was about 8 pm. He was going back to Kal Parish in Koch after shopping in town. They stopped him, asked him and began to beat him before he could complete his statement. Opiyo was beaten until he was unconscious. He cried and could not cry anymore. He was beaten all over including the head and it reached a time when he could not feel pain of the beating. He was tied with a rubber cut from a bicycle tube. His hands were tied backward in what is commonly known as ‘kandoya. He was thrown in a ramshackle kiosk at the roadside where he groaned with pain till morning. At dawn, the hard-hearted soldiers untied him and left him for dead. His hands and fingers were all bloated with blood that was not flowing. His fingers that were swollen with blood burst open. The soldiers went their way leaving him there in a pool of blood jetting out of his fingers.

Passers-by got him early morning groaning at the roadside. Fortunately one person identified him as his village mate. He reported the incident to Opiyo’s sister who later came and picked his body. She took Opiyo to Gulu hospital where he gained his consciousnesss after some treatment. He was admitted for four months until August when he was discharged and told to be reporting from home. When he was taken to the hospital, his hands were still stuck behind his back and blood was still oozing out. He is still getting treatment and the hands are being massaged. But up to the press time, Opiyo’s fingers are not yet straightened. The blood veins that burst might have been compressed making his fingers warped and deformed. He now walks with his fingers bent and hands hanging on his chest.

What worries apiyo most is now his disability. He is the head of a family of thirteen people. Eight are orphan; four are his own children and a wife. He does not know how all people under his care will survive without his effort. He is now disable and cannot manage to work in garden. Bathing, he has to be helped. Putting on his clothes, going for short and long calls, someone has to be around to remove his cloth.

Before the UPDF soldiers reduced Opiyo to a disable person, he was a hard working farmer. He had specialized in vegetable growing. He had gardens of Cabbage, tomatoes and other green vegetables including rice. He had already saved point eight million out of his farming. Unfortunately, he has now spent it all for his treatment, feeding and transport. His family is now facing hunger because he was the sole breadwinner. Worst of all, Opiyo is parentless. His mother died in 1997 and father in 1995. Even his elder brother, who was a UPDF veteran and the head of their family was mysteriously killed in 2001. Opiyo cannot explain the circumstances under which he died but said he was assaulted by unknown people, killed and his body found in the morning. As the last born of four brothers and four sisters, Opiyo was entrusted with the responsibility of looking after the home of his late father. Unfortunately, problem befell him.

Opiyo said he was advised to go to the army and seek for assistance but he has tried in vein. According to him, he could go to the army PRO office but office attendants could not allow him sees the officer concern. “They just ridicule me and laugh at me,” Opiyo said. Up to the time of the press, he had not yet seen the PRO of the UPDF. Opiyo however, has taken his complain to the Uganda Human Rights Commission who are working on his case. According to the Human Right watch release, “Uprooted and Forgotten,” government soldiers routinely abuse civilians in the displaced persons camps. Civilians alleged to be “rebel collaborators” are commonly detained and tortured or severely beaten with sticks as part of the interrogation process. 

 

 

  1. ARCHBISHOP ODAMA FORGIVES TESO POLITICIANS

It was ululations of happiness, cheers and praises for the Archbishop JB Odama as he publicly forgave Teso Member of Parliament and their district leaders for ridiculing him in the past. The public in the packed Soroti Sports ground cheered the Archbishop as he invited MP for Soroti Municipality Mike Mukula and the resident District Commissioner Musa Ecweru to greet him after he forgave them. Odama held their hands and told the people gathered that the gesture was to unite the leaders of north and northeastern region for peace. The historic heartfelt gesture was during the celebration to mark the International Peace Day that took place in Soroti town in September 21st. The peace day theme was “Global Friendship, Culture of Peace and Non Violence.”

“There was a moment when we were not feeling alright. I was called all kind of names. It looked as if we were quarrelling. Today, on this occasion, I want to say I forgive you. Let us be one,” Odama said.

Mukula said Teso leaders were greatful that the Archbishop has forgiven them. He added that the forgiveness should forge national unity.  Ecwero apologized for using bad language against the Archbishop but added that they are one in principle. He said he knew Odama as one of the honest leaders in the country.

When the government announced in early 2003 that it wanted to recruit the Iteso into militiamen to use bows and arrows to fight the well-armed Lord Resistance Army (LRA) rebels, the Archbishop cautioned the government saying it was suicidal.  Similar strategy was used in Acholi in the early year of the LRA rebellion. The government armed the Acholi with bows and arrows to fight the sophisticated armed LRA. The result was massacre, cutting of mouths, ears and many other forms of torture and killing. Learning from the past experience, the Archbishop wanted government avoid the same repeat in Teso.

The International peace day that was celebrated in Teso started in 1981 when the government of Costa Rica sponsored a resolution (GA 36/67) at the United Nations General Assembly establishing the United nations Day of Peace, “devoted to commemorating and strengthening the ideals of peace both within and among all nations and peoples.”

In Uganda, violent conflicts have led to many devastating effects with civil wars; ethnic clashes and religious confrontations taking centre stage. The longest civil war Uganda has suffered being the 20 year LRA war in northern Uganda which has spread to over nine districts including Teso and Karamoja region tearing them apart.

The war has displaced over 1.6 people into internally displaced Persons (IDP) camps. It targeted children; youth through violent and brutal attacks and has made northern Uganda one of the worst scenes of violence and human rights violation in the world including mutilations, rape and assault. This has increased poverty levels to over 60%, food insecurity and compounded the problems of malaria and HIV/AIDs.

The conflict resolution in Uganda has a multi dimensional approach involving the combination of the use of force and dialogue. It has culminated into differences of opinions and options into bringing it to an end. The civil society groups have always cherished an approach that respects and preserves the dignity of humanity. They have engaged in non-violent approaches to ending the conflict. One of the factors that have dragged the conflict in northern and northeastern Uganda on for 20 years is the fact that various stakeholders, local and international have not been fully told the nitty-gritty of the situation and the suffering it has brought to the communities in the northern Uganda.

The 22nd International Day of Peace was held last year in Gulu Municipality. Soroti was chosen this year because it is one of the districts where the LRA conflict has spilled over further transforming into ethnic dimensions. Soroti is in the centre of other sub-regions that have been affected by prolonged conflict for instance, Karamoja cattle rustling.

By James Oweka

 

  1. BISHOP JOSEPH FRANZELLI: A MAN OF DIALOGUE

Joseph Franzelli, 63, was consecrated bishop of Lira last July 9th. An Italian Comboni Missionary, he talks of himself as “a baby bishop”, just two and a half months old. On a more serious note he describes his role as being a pastor, together with his priests, offering spiritual leadership and guidance, strenghthening people’s faith and giving a lot of time to listening. In his pastoral ministry he stresses a lot the role of the laity and a model of Church where collaboration is the key element.

 

During the brief time he has been in Lira he does indeed devote a lot of time to giving his ears to the many people who come to his office, where every day he spends at least seven hours receiving visitors. Last 14th August our consultant Lam Cosmas, together with Fr. Carlos and Ms Elisabeth Adong (from the Justice & Peace Commission of Lira) paid him a courtesy call and briefed him about our activities, particularly our areas of collaboration, since the next provincial meeting will take in Lira in November 2nd and 3rd.

Bishop Franzelli strives to devote at least two days in week to visiting the parishes of the diocese, totalling 18. He confesses that he has been deeply struck by the appalling conditions of the 400,000 internally displaced persons of his diocese (at least one third of its population), whom he has visited in places like Aloi, Aliwang, Bar Apwo, Aleptong and Alanyi.

 

He is not a new man in Uganda. Previously, he worked in Acholiland from 1971 to 1987. In the seventies he was one of the formators of the Pastoral Institute of Kitgum, a seminary for late vocations where seminarians were training alternating theological lectures with pastoral activities in nearby rural communities. Later on he was Parish Priest of Patongo, where he faced many painful challenges at the beginning of the war, including witnessing people being shot in cold blood in front of him. In February 1987 he was forced to leave his Parish and go to Italy, where he has spent many years working on formation of young candidates to priesthood, as well as on-going formation of mid-life missionaries going for renewal courses.

 

By Fr. Carlos

 

  1. WHAT THE ITESO SAY ABOUT CATTLE RUSTLING

Soroti district as it is known to day got its name from Soloto rock. The rock is adjacent to Soroti Hotel.

During the colonial days, the British used to distribute salt to native Iteso on this rock. The indigenous people therefore named it salt rock. But because they could not pronounce the ward salt as it is, they had to call it soloto. And the name Soroti that became a district later originated from Soloto.

Apart from the intertribal wars in the pre-colonial days, Teso land was peaceful. The Iteso had a peaceful co-existence with their neighbours including the Karimojong. They used to share markets and health facilities at the border with Karimojong. What is known as cattle raiding by the Karimojong was a mere stealing of a cow. The case was not common.

According to the Iteso elites, the large-scale cattle rustling is a colonial error. They gazetted Karamoja as a zoo and recreation centre. The colonialists denied the Karimojong education. Even the kind of administration Kakungulu introduce in Teso was not extended to Karamoja.

The same elites blamed the post-colonial governments for having also made errors that has now led to more cattle rustling. Former President Idi Amin according to them increased military might of the Iteso against the Karimojong. The Karimojong saw it as a threat to their cattle – their livelihood. Obote II also recruited militiamen in Teso. It also did not solve the real problem of the Karimojong.

When the National Resistance Army (NRA/M) seized power in 1986, there was mismanaged suspicion in the north and northeastern Uganda. It resulted into the formation of Uganda People’s Army (UPA). The government then withdrew from disarming the Karimojong. The state power was dismantled in the region and the Karimojong took advantage of the situation to have advantage over their neighbours. There was intense cattle raid all over north and north-eastern Uganda, and had it not been for Lake Kyoga, the karimojong would have reached Kampala.

In the recent years, the NRM worsen the situation by arming the Karimojong vigilantes. The guns given to them were turned into raiding. The Karimojong is known to have raided cattle as far as Kenya, Ethiopia and Sudan, apart from the many areas in Uganda.

People in Teso now say cattle rustling has taken the business dimension. In Karamojong, some people exchange cattle for guns while some people working with the non governmental organisations look at it as a business opportunity.  Some people in the government were also accused of using the conflict as a way of ‘getting something to eat.’ Specifically mentioned was when cattle recovered were not given all to the owners. Some government officials use the opportunity to reward their relatives even if they did not loose any cattle.

The government specifically was accused of putting too much attention on the victims other than the root cause. Foe instance, the government emphasises re-stocking in Teso then tackling why raiding is continuous. In general, there is no long term plan but only wait for raid to happen then come in to intervene.

 

 

  1. OUR ACTIVITIES IN SEPTEMBER 2005

This month of September has been rich in activities from our personel. Indeed, when we come together and work as a team we can deliver services to our people.

  • The cross-bprder peace meeting Uganda-Sudan of religious and civil society leaders, held at Nimule (Sudan) from 31st August to 3rd September.
  • Second training course for paralegals in Kalongo, from 19th to 24th September. It was well attended, with all parishes sending members.
  • Our Chairman, Fr. Cyprian Ocen, James Oweka and Cathy Akello attended the International Peace Day Celebration in Soroti on 20th and 21st September.
  • Our staff from the Gulu Office, Robert Okwonga and Rose Adong, have started visiting the groups of paralegals in the parishes of Gulu Vicariate.
  • We organised a Peace Animation day at Bobi IDP camp on 23rd September with our partners of Information for Youth and Empowerment (IYEP). These are returnees who, among some other activities, visit the displaced camps to talk about reintegration and peace issues. JPC is very much impressed by the efforts of these young men and women who have greatly suffered for many years and are working towards reconciliation. They deserve all our support.
  • Our consultant, Cosmas Lam, together with James Oweka, paid another visit to our friends of Adjumani, to continue organising the Provincial Peace Day celebration on the 3rd and 4th January 2006. This is an excellent occasion to promote understanding among the neighbouring communities of Acholi and Madi.
  • On 27th and 28th September we held a two-day retreat with the clergy and other pastoral agents in Kitgum on the topic of Justice and the Eucharist, as part of the preparations for the Eucharistic Congress of December. This is in partnership with Caritas and the Office of the Pastoral Coordinator.
  • On 5th and 6th October we shall have a meeting of Acholi and Jie leaders in Morulem (Kotido district).
  • Our Secretary General who has also been acting Programme manager, Fr. Carlos Rudriguez received a number of visitors who came to Acholi almost on a daily basis to get information about our situation. These include diplomats, researchers, NGOs representatives, journalists, etcetera.  

 

  1. CHRONOLOGY OF RECENT EVENTS 2005

AUGUST

6th – Rebel maj. Salvatore Okumu surrendered to the UPDF at Pajimu barracks in Kitgum.

 

7th – Rebels killed three farmers in Olwal.

 

8th – Soldiers at Palenga shot dead an IDP called Francis Ojok.

 

11th – Rebels abducted four villagers at night in Minakulu (Apac). One of them was killed.

 

13th – UPDF said it killed rebel Lt. Col. Lubul in a battle in Kitgum.

 

14th – Two IDPs who were digging their gardens at Olwal were shot dead by a UPDF soldier.

 

15th – A soldier shot dead an 8-year old child at Palaro Rajab (Laroo). The soldier was arrested.

 

15th – UPDF said it had killed rebel Brig. Abonga Papa. It was not confirm.

 

16th – Eight LRA surrendered in Gulu.

 

17th – A soldier shot dead the LC1 of Omot (Pader).

 

18th – UPDF said it killed 40 rebels in air raids north of Kitgum and South Sudan.

 

18th – Soldiers killed a man called Kinyera at Palenga IDP camp.

 

23rd – Government and UN agencies revealed from a report that 1,000 IDPs – mainly children – were dying every week in Acholi due to diseases.

 

25th – rebels ambushed a vehicle on the Kilak Corner-Patongo road. They killed seven people.

 

26th – A soldier killed a civilian in a lodge in Kilongo.

 

 SEPTEMBER

1ST – At A public function in Gulu, Museveni said that the number of LRA stood at less than one hundred and that if the Government of Sudan gave the UPDF permission to cross the red line to hunt for Kony he could finish them “in thirty minutes.”

 

1st – Religious and cultural leaders from northern Uganda met their counterparts from Southern Sudan in Nimule at a three-day cross-boarder peace meeting.

 

6th – UPDF said it killed 16 LRA rebels, twelve of them north of Ogom (Atanga) and four near Amuru.

 

7th – LRA rebels abducted a 12-year old boy from Puranga IDP camp. The boy had gone to make chacoal.

 

9th – A UPDF soldier shot dead two LDUs at Akilok because of a dispute.

 

10th – Betty Bigombe made a public announcement that she had resumed regular phone contact with Joseph Kony, leader of the LRA rebels. 

 

11th – Six LRA rebels surrendered to the army in Agago (Pader).

 

13th – An estimated 40 LRA rebels crossed the Nile in South Sudan and attacked villages on the Yei-Juba road.

 

14th – The Uganda Minister of Internal Affairs, Ruhakana Rugunda stated that the government still had the door open for negotiations with the LRA.

 

16th – An LDU soldier was caught red-handed having sex with a married civilian wife in Coo-Peke IDP camp. He was arrested by civilian.

 

17th – Army helicopter gunship bombed rebel hideouts in Pader (near Kalongo).

 

17th – LRA ambushed a lorry coming from Isoke (Sudan) six kilometres from Madi-Opei. They killed 14 people, mostly school children and burnt the lorry.

 

18th – Army said LRA fighters under Otti and Abudema crossed to the Democratic Republic of Congo. They suspected also Kony had crossed.

 

20th – Human Right Watch published a report “Uprooted and Forgotten,” accusing the UPDF for human rights violations in northern Uganda.

 

20th – A young man identified as Ojera Alexis Francis was shot dead at night in Layik, Agonga Parish by patrolling soldiers.

 

21st – The number of child night communters stood as follows:

  • Kalongo: 4,200
  • Kitgum : 2,500
  • Lacor Hospital: 2,460

 

22nd – Cholera outbreak has been reported in Coo-Peke IDP camp with one death recorded and six patients admitted in the hospitals.