Frustration Among LRA War Victims As Govt Aid Delays

2112 Views Gulu, Uganda

In short
Frustration is rising among over 8,000 LRA war survivors as they wait for the government support that was promised to them about seven years ago.

Frustration is rising among over 8,000 Kony war survivors as they wait for the government support that was promised to them about seven years ago.
 
The victims are mainly from Acholi, and some parts of Lango, Teso and West sub regions. They were registered between 2006 and 2008 under a scheme headed by the then Special Presidential Advisor for northern Uganda, Richard Todwong for possible compensation for bodily injuries and property lost.
 
Santolino Otto, an 81 year old resident of Palaro Sub County in in Gulu district, is one of the victims of the northern Uganda insurgency. His left arm was cut off by the rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in 1991 in Agoro, Palaro. He says since his arm was cut off by the rebels he has been struggling to survive as he cannot dig like he used to do or even do any serious work.  He says he was hoping to receive some money when the government conducted the registration of the victims but to date nothing has been done.
 
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Otto says that in the records that Todwong documented, they took their pictures exactly at the spot where someone was injured and they promised them aid from the government. He says however, that since the then presidential adviser changed office they have not heard any formal communication from the government. He says that government should consider helping the victims since they cannot do anything to protect themselves. Todwong is now Member of Parliament for Nwoya County and Minister without Portfolio.
 
Hannington Odong, a victim of the insurgency who heads the Koch Goma Landmine Survivors Association, says that he was told by Todwong that the government would pay each individual between three and five million shillings depending on the injury.
 
Odong said that Todwong already took their names to the Office of the Prime Minister and they were working on them adding that they have been waiting for all this long.
Todwong, however, says all those registered will receive money and medical assistance. He said the government had not forgotten the victims but insisted that more registration was still ongoing.  Todwong says most likely the government will include the war victims fund in next financial year budget.
 
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Reagan Okumu, the chairperson for Acholi Parliamentary Group who is also the Aswa county MP, states that the government should come up with a national truth commission which will work on issues of compensation, reparations and truth telling and reconciliation.
 
Media reports in 2010 quoted Richard Todwong as saying the government’s target was to register and assist 10,000 persons that had suffered bodily harm as a direct result of the LRA war. The rebels ravaged northern Uganda from 1987 to 2006 killing more than 100,000 people and forcing two million others into displacement camps.
 

 

About the author

Alex Otto
“Journalism that changes lives is my goal,” Alex Otto has said on more than one occasion. That is his career’s guiding principle. Has been since he was a radio journalist in the northern Ugandan town of Gulu in 2009.

Otto passionately believes his journalism should bring to the fore the voices of the voiceless like the shooting victims of Apaa. Otto tries in his journalism to ask tough questions to those in positions of authority.

Based in the Kampala bureau, Otto is especially interested in covering agriculture, politics, education, human rights, crime, environment and business. He has reported intensively on the post-conflict situation in northern Uganda.

A URN staff member since 2014, Otto previously worked with The Observer Newspaper from 2012 to 2013 and later the Institute for War and Peace Reporting IWPR based in Gulu.

He was the URN Gulu bureau chief 2014-2016.