Concerned Parents Association, an organization that was formed in 1996 to advocate for the release of all children held captive by the Lord's Resistance Army, has inaugurated a monument built in memory of thousands of children abducted and killed by the rebels.
The monument, erected at the Mayor's Gardens in Lira town, was unveiled over the weekend.
Jackson Atwii, chairperson of Concerned Parents Association, told hundreds of people gathered for peace prayers at the Mayor's Garden that the monument was to serve as a lasting reminder of the horrors of war and the need for peace. He said it would particularly honor the memory of four teenagers who were killed in captivity after their abduction from St. Mary's College Aboke by the LRA rebels.
In total 139 school girls from St. Mary's College Aboke on the night of October 10th, 1996. A month ago, Catherine Ajok, the last Aboke girl in captivity, was rescued by the Uganda People's Defence Forces.
The abduction of the Aboke girls prompted a grassroots action against the LRA that had not been seen in the history of the rebellion in Northern Uganda. Highly educated parents of the abducted girls formed the Concerned Parents Association to advocate for the children's release. They invited other parents from the region whose children had been abducted to have a stronger voice.
Currently the organization works through grass 500 different parent support groups and 100 youth groups; each with an average of 25 members. They have a resident community representative in each community, each calling for a peaceful end to the conflict in the north.
Jackson Atwii said Concerned Parents Association is in the process of collecting data on all the children who were abducted by the LRA or lost their lives at the hands of the rebels. He said each innocent person killed needed to be accounted for and their memories honored.
The Bishop of Lango Diocese, John Charles Odur Kami, who led the peace prayers said the horrors of the war were still fresh in the minds of people from Northern Uganda. He said the only way forward is through repentance and reconciliation.
concerned parents association