Barlonyo Massacre Survivors Still Waiting on Museveni Pledges

5724 Views Lira, Uganda

In short
Mario Ogang, the area LC III chairperson says much as they are happy that the president constructed a vocational school, he has left out a primary school which he said is the key foundation of education.

Survivors of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebel attack on Barlonyo Internally Displaced People's -IDP camp in Lira district want President Yoweri Museveni to fulfil key pledges he made to them thirteen years ago.
 
On February 21, 2004, rebels of the LRA rebels attacked and burnt Barlonyo camp killing more than 300 people.
 
While presiding over the mass burial of the victims on March 27, 2004, at Barlonyo IDP Camp, President Yoweri Museveni pledged to build a primary school, a health centre, a bridge that would later be named Kaguta bridge to connect Lira to Otuke, Pader and Abim and a vocational institute. All these were to be built in memory of those massacred and as a consolation to the surviving community.
 
Thirteen years after the massacre, however, the survivors say President Museveni is yet to fulfil what they described as key pledges. They say that apart from the vocational school which is also struggling to operate and the Kaguta Bridge which is yet under construction, Museveni has left out his pledges of a health centre and a primary school which they consider as most important facilities of all the pledges.
 
The survivors say they have been patient enough thinking the President would prioritise these pledges in vain and now want them fulfilled.
 
Kennedy Odongo, the local council one chairperson says the nearest primary school in the area is Corom primary school which is about 10 kilometres away. Odongo says may children in the area have abandoned school because of the distance.
 
Meanwhile he says they access health care services from Abala Health Centre III located about 15 kilometres away and Ogur Health Centre IV, about 11 kilometres away.
 
Odongo wants the President to prioritise and fulfil these pledges as soon as possible to save the situation in the area.
 
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Mario Ogang, the area LC III chairperson says much as they are happy that the president constructed a vocational school, he has left out a primary school which he said is the key foundation of education. Ogang says the President should have started with the primary school and the health centre to help deal with the psycho-social challenges in the area.
 
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Angellina Ogwang, who was seriously beaten by the rebels and left for dead, says many of them have been deformed and cannot afford to walk the long distances to access medical care.
 
She wants the President to consider their plight and construct a health centre in the area as soon as possible.
 
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Leslinna Okello lost her husband during the attack. She takes care of four orphans on top of her six children. She says the priority in the area is a primary school since majority of the children have abandoned school because of the distance.
 
Okello says since government has failed to provide for the families and improve on their livelihood, their only hope has been education, something which she said their children are struggling to access.
 
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Much as the former IDP camp has turned into a bustling trading centre, basic social infrastructure such as a health facility and a primary school are still lacking. 

 

About the author

Denis Olaka
Denis Olaka is the URN bureau chief for Lira, in northern Uganda. Apac and Otuke fall under his docket. Olaka has been a URN staff member since 2011.

Olaka started his journalism career in 2000 as a news reporter, anchor, and then editor for Radio Lira in Lira district. He was subsequently an editor with Lira's Radio Wa in 2004 and Gulu district's Mega FM.

He was also a freelance writer for the Daily Monitor and Red Pepper newspapers.

Olaka's journalism focuses on politics, health, agriculture and education. He does a lot of crime reporting too.