The office of the Paramount of Chief of Acholi, Rwot David Onen Acana II has called on the government to resort to dialogue than continue with the military option as a solution to ending the war with the LRA.
The statement was made by Rwot Peter Oola Ojiga of Alokolum who represented Rwot Acana at the luncheon of a report titled “For their name, in their name: paying homage” which was published by Children/Youth As Peace-builders (CAP) a non-governmental organization, which was held at Ker-Kal Kwaro Acholi palace in Kanyagoga, in Bardege division, Gulu municipality.
Rwot Ojiga said that the government must stop fighting children it failed to protect when they were abducted because they were forced into doing what they are doing; “it wasn’t out of their choice.”
“During the LRA war with Uganda government, many people including government of Uganda were coming to us to give them blessings to fight the LRA, we refused because those are children who were innocently abducted,” Rwot Ojigi said.
He added that, “we call upon the government of Uganda to spare the lives of abductees since it knows that know that they were abducted, how can they lebel them rebels and fight them? He asked.
Mark Avola the Director of Gulu NGO forum and former World Vision Manager said that the over two decades of war between LRA and government of Uganda must bring shame on both the government and the LRA because both sides were fighting their war using children.
Isaac Opiyo Odiya the Program Director for Justice and Reconciliation Project said that Acholi culture is doomed because institutions such as Wang OO are dead: “How can you frame your child, for a better future traditionally,” he asked.
Mr. Opiyo said that the real victims are the children who were abducted and are still left in the bush because their lives have been ruined for ever, even if they survive the bush; since they were forced into doing the things they do.
Rosina Apila from Amuria district in Teso sub region who gave her testimony said that she witnessed a number of her relatives get killed in year 2003 when the incursion reached Teso region.
“Although I was not abducted, I spend one month in hiding because I witnessed many of my relatives die and some are still missing.” Apila said.
Quinto Okello survivor from Barlonyo in Lira district said that: “We have lost 301 people who were killed in Barlonyo our people are still suffering.” Okello said.
James Odong from World Vision International said that no children are ever safe in war and conflict situations, because they are easy prey.
Odong urged the Acholi community to “document and write books about their experiences during the war so that the future generation of Acholi can learn from this dark period of our existence.”
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