The news of Government's planned military aggression against the Lord's Resistance Army has been met with much resistance from ordinary citizens and national leaders in Gulu district.
Early this month army officials from Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Sudan discussed military strategies to root the LRA out of their countries. This followed LRA attacks on civilian populations in the DRC and Sudan.
But 43-year-old Leonora Akello of Bur Coro village in Aswa County, whose four children were abducted by the LRA, says a return to arms is not the answer. She is afraid that an armed attack on the rebels will result in the death three of her children who have not been released from captivity.
Recently Akello learned that her fourth child was killed at the height of the LRA guerilla war in northern Uganda. She says she was hopeful that she would see her children again once peace talks between the LRA and the Government of Uganda began and urges for a return to the negotiation table.
Faustino Oloya is a resident of Coo Pe IDP Camp where the LRA carried out civilian massacre in 2004. He says his only son is still alive and is in the LRA rebellion, but has made it known that he would like to be reunited with his family after the rebels denounce war. Oloya also wants government to continue with the peace talks in order to protect the children.
Although no one knows precisely how many children and women were abducted from Northern Uganda, UNICEF estimates that at least 25,000 children were kidnapped since Joseph Kony led an aggression against the Government of Uganda in 1986. On
Betty Aol Ochan, the Gulu Woman Member of Parliament, says particular consideration needs to be given to the large number of innocent children born in captivity. She warns that a military strike will put them in harms way.
John Baptist Odama, the Archbishop of Gulu Archdiocese who has been at the forefront of peace efforts in northern Uganda, says a return to war is the worst possible alternative. He says war never achieves its intended goal and many innocent people are placed in the middle of a struggle for power.
//Cue in: iWar is never #i
Cue out: i# precious human lives.i//
Recently the Catholic bishops in Uganda issued a joint statement calling for the delay of military aggression against the LRA. They said previous offensives led to the death of thousands of civilians in Northern Uganda.
juba peace talks