The United Nations Development Program has handed over Lote village to residents after clearing it of land mines that were planted by Lords Resistance Army rebels. Lote village in Agoro sub-county of Lamwo district provided a safe haven to LRA rebels at the height of the insurgency in Northern Uganda.
It is alleged that the rebels planted the Land mines were they flushed out by the UPDF and fled to Southern Sudan. As a result, Lote Village became inaccessible to the resident because the T72 anti personnel mines that were planted in the area.
In 2008, the national mine action dispatched a team of mine experts to ascertain the extent of the threat posed by the mine in the area. Following the study, a team of de-miners were dispatched to clear the area so that the internally displaced persons would be resettled back.
Vincent Woboya, the National Coordinator of Uganda Mine Action Programme says it's a big achievement to the team and the government. He says Uganda has a target of achieving a mine free country by 2012.
He says the team is determined to achieve that deadline. Woboya appeals to the locals to take the chance of a mine free area to engage in agricultural production to improve their living conditions;
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Speaking during hand over ceremony Tarsis Kabwegyere, the Minister of disaster preparedness, said the hand over the village shows governments commitment to ending the northern insurgency;
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Kabwegyere said that despite the enormous challenges during the de-mining process, the team was able avoid casualties and execute their task with utmost accuracy;
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He castigated opposition politicians who are pessimistic about the future of northern Uganda arguing local's government programmes to fight poverty in the area.
Lamwo district LCV Chairperson Mathew Akia pledged the support of the district to ensure that the resettled communities benefit from government programmes.
Akia challenged the locals to take the advantage of the peace to plan crops that will help them ensure food security in the area. Despite the peaceful resettlement, access to clean water and other basic services still remains a big challenge in the area.