Child victims of the 20-year guerilla war fought by the Lord's Resistance Army are dissatisfied with the inadequate attention being given to their plight and the trauma they endured at the hands of the rebel forces.
Some studies suggest that 40-50,000 youngsters were abducted by the LRA, forced to carry looted food and materials and become child soldiers and sex slaves. Over the years, large numbers of these children have escaped their captors. Many headed for refugees camps, some returned to their villages while others ended up on the street.
John Otim, is a child victim of the war, who had been living on the streets of Lira and is now being assisted by the Child Restoration Outreach centre in the town. He says many youngsters traumatized by the war are abused rather than helped.
According to Otim, those who never suffered from the LRA war treat them as rebels.
Sam Okello, another war victim, remembers the day when by fighters of the Lord's Resistance Army,LRA, killed his parents six years ago in the village of Atin Kok in Apala, near the town of Lira in north central Uganda..
Those memories haunt Okello so strongly that he can't concentrate at school and is prone to fits and crying. He says he can't stop thinking about my lost parents, even though my teachers say thinking about them will affect my performance.
But he confessed that forgetting will not be easy because the memories are still fresh.
A 14-year-old boy who lost his parents in the Barlonyo massacre, when the LRA killed more than 300 people, complains of similar mistreatment. He said he was abused by some people who told him that streets kids were useless.
He and others say they are harassed by security guards protecting businesses in the town centre.
The psychological problems suffered in the north are only now becoming more apparent, as some degree of normality begins to return to the region after two decades of war.
People here have watched nervously as peace talks between the LRA and the Ugandan government have stumbled along. The parties appeared to be making progress, but in the last few weeks there have been a series of major setbacks.
LRA leader Joseph Kony was reportedly set to sign an agreement to end the conflict on April 10 in a remote location on the border of South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, DRC, but failed to show up.
With the focus of local and international attention over the last year on securing a peace deal, little effort has been made to treat the psychological wounds of those who survived LRA brutality.
People in northern Uganda who are only now returning to their homes say healing these wounds may be the most difficult task of all.
Tom Okao, an elder from Apala, says the children of northern Uganda are really disturbed and they think life is all about violence. He said they need psycho-social rehabilitation.
Teachers in some of the recently reopened schools in the north said they have become increasingly aware of many children who have been traumatised by the war and, as a result, have trouble learning.
Joel Peter Onyuta, a teacher in Otwal in Oyam district, northwest of Lira, said, the children demonstrate in class how their relatives were tortured before being killed by the LRA. He is also of the opinion that they need rehabilitation if they are to become good citizens.
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