Namokora survivors’ group commemorates massacre, plan way forward

Namokora Massacre Memorial 2014-08-19 (37)

Retired Anglican Bishop of Kitgum Archdioces Bishop Macleord Baker Ochola leads the Namokora massacre memorial prayers in Namokora sub-county, Kitgum District, 19 August 2014.

Last week, JRP’s Documentation team met with the Namokora LCIII and chairperson of the Namokora United Relatives of the Massacred and Survivors Association, Charles Onen, to discuss the second annual memorial for the 1986 Namokora massacre. This year was only the second time since 1986 that the massacre has been commemorated but Mr. Onen was enthusiastic as he told us about the progress the community is making in advocating for reparations and acknowledgment for the victims and their families.

As part of the commemorative initiatives, the Namokora suvivors association arranged a two day vigil on the 17th and 18th of August to pay respect to the 71 people that died during the operation led by the National Resistance Army’s 35th Battalion in Namokora sub-county, Kitgum District. On the 19th, a memorial event was held at the Namokora massacre memorial site where JRP’s Field Note ‘Occupation and Carnage: Recounting Atrocities Committed by the NRA’s 35th Battalion in Namokora Sub-County in August 1986’ was officially launched to the community. Retired Anglican Bishop of Kitgum Archdioces Bishop Macleord Baker Ochola, Kitgum District officials, other councilors, civil society, as well as Namokora massacre survivors from other sub-counties incl Orom, Kitgum Matidi and Lagoro were all in attendance.

During the memorial, representatives of orphans, elders and widows of the massacre were all given an opportunity to speak. In their speeches, many expressed their frustration in the lack of response from the their local leaders. One representative specifically said that because the victims and survivors felt that their leaders would not forward their concerns to the government, they would themselves trek to Kampala themselves to seek redress. Many saw the launch of the JRP report Occupation and Carnage as an important tool to redress their challenges.

Representatives of relatives of victims and survivors of the massacre also held a press conference at the Northern Uganda Media Club (NUMEC) in Gulu on Thursday 22 August 2014 to brief the media on the Namokora massacre, discuss a position paper developed by the survivors group, and detail the action the group intends to take.

 Read JRP’s Field Note Occupation and Carnage here: http://justiceandreconciliation.com/2014/04/occupation-and-carnage-recounting-atrocities-committed-by-the-nras-35th-battalion-in-namokora-sub-county-in-august-1986-fn-xix-march-2014/

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