Some of the women who were abducted and forced to become wives of the LRA commanders have accused the fathers of their children of neglect and want them held accountable.
Some of the women, who were abducted and forced to become wives of the LRA commanders, have accused the fathers of their children of neglect and want them held accountable.
The women through their association, Women Advocacy Network, say that the former rebel commanders especially those who have since returned home, do not provide for the upkeep of their children leaving the young mothers to fend for the children on their own.
Over the weekend at a meeting organized by World Vision Children of War, the women mostly child mothers said that the former rebel commanders continue to get financial support from government and other agencies yet cannot support the women they forced to be their wives in captivity.
Grace Achan, one of the girls who were abducted during the infamous 1996 attack at St Mary’s College, Aboke, explained that they always live with bitter experience of witnessing the former rebel commanders, some of them directly responsible for their abduction, moving through the streets and living large in the communities while they, the victims, continue to suffer unattended to.
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She added that they also demand apology from the former rebel commanders especially those who have returned and have been offered amnesty for abducting and forcing them to undergo heinous ordeals in captivity against their will.
Susan Alal, manager World Vision Children of War project said the meeting was intended to highlight the problems the women are encountering so that the concerned partners could identify specific areas where they can intervene.
Meanwhile, Denis Odoch, the Gulu District Police Commander has said they are going to arrest the former rebel commanders especially those who have neglected their children. He however asked partners to readily provide support for DNA tests should some of the commanders stubbornly deny fathering the children.
Peter Mugisa, the UPDF 4th division spokesperson also said the army would rein in the former commanders especially those who have been integrated into the army. He asked the women to provide the army with necessary details to enable them verify and deduct salaries of the responsible men to cater for their abandoned children.
Other challenges cited by the formerly abducted girls include stigmatization from community, rejection by family members, inability to provide basic needs for children and urgent need for surgery particularly for those carrying bomb splinter and bullets in their bodies.
During the over twenty years of war in northern Uganda, the LRA abducted several children and conscripted them into the rebel ranks while the girls were forced to become wives of the commanders. While a section of the children have returned home, the girls some of whom are barely 20 years old have to struggle to fend for the children they bore in captivity.
lra rebel abductions
formerly abducted girls
women advocacy network