Women who were abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels during the insurgency in northern Uganda want an apology from their former commanders whom they say, have since returned and are now living in the community.
The women say that they can never be at peace “when their abductors are freely roaming within their communities and show no remorse for their actions.”
The Chairperson of the group Ms Evelyn Amony noted that their human rights were violated and that they are pained at the sight of their former commanders enjoying a life of luxury that is being accorded to them by the government.
“We went through a lot and some of us still have scars and wounds left on us and whenever we meet the perpetuators who inflicted this pain on us, we hurt more; because they have never said sorry which means they did it intentionally,” she said.
Ms Amony who was in captivity for 11 years added that, “the perpetuators have been integrated in the Uganda People’s Defence Forces (UPDF) while others have been supported to get back to school, but the victims have been left to suffer and wallow.”
She further noted that, “they forced us into relationships while in captivity, but now refuse the children they fathered with us in the bush and when they returned, they married educated women yet they are the ones who cut short our education when they abducted us.”
Ms Grace Anena who shares a similar plight said that: “Whenever we meet our tormentors, we feel traumatized so we demand an apology from them.”
Anena who was in captivity for six years says that as returnees, they are faced with a double jeopardy, because the community also accuses them of killing, even though the government failed to protect them and they only did what they because they were forced into it by their abductors.
“As victims, we are still yawning for justice to come our way. There is no way we can be abused and the abusers just walk free as if nothing happened,” she said.
Ms Ketty Anyeko, a team leader on justice affairs with the Justice and Reconciliation Project urged for reconciliation between the victims and the perpetuators so that they can co-exist.
“Perpetrators should accept the blame, admit their actions and offer an apology before they can be forgiven,” she said.
“Guns have gone silent, but wounds and injuries inflicted by perpetrators are still fresh in the memories of the victims. Unless reconciliation takes place, the peace we think is there is not total peace,” she added.
“The government’s failure to protect the civilians in the two decades war resulted in these atrocities, so it should be the government to handle these issues. They should get back to the drawing board and have guidelines in place,” Ochola said.
The Women Advocacy Network was set up to help women who were abducted come to terms with their trauma, advance their education and promote income generating activities.
Most former abductees face rejection from their parents and their communities especially those who have returned with children. It is estimated that up to 60,000 children could have been forced into combat by the warring parties and over 2 million people were forced into internment camps across northern Uganda, at the height of the war. By A Web design Company
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