How important is regional reconciliation for Acholi and Lango?

Conducting a survey on regional reconciliation in Lukodi, 17 April 2015. JRP.

Conducting a survey on regional reconciliation in Lukodi, 17 April 2015. JRP.

In April, JRP’s Community Mobilisation team conducted an opinion survey to assess the need for regional reconciliation in seven different communities in Acholi and Lango. With support from USAID-SAFE, the survey is part of a wider project JRP is implementing that deals with ensuring effective reconciliation between different communities in northern Uganda following conflict.

The survey was conducted to seek an understanding of the gaps that exist in securing reconciliation, to assess community perceptions on the need for reconciliation, and to identify mechanisms that could be adopted to foster reconciliation within these communities and across ethnic groups of northern Uganda.

This survey was conducted with 207 people in seven locations of Acholi and Lango Sub-regions – Atiak, Lukodi, Burcoro, Odek, Parabongo, Barlonyo and Abia – between 15 and 29 April 2015. Respondents of the survey were victims and survivors of war, members of peace committees, religious and traditional Leaders, members of the community and local government leaders.

During the survey, we observed growing bitterness among the communities. Many people in Lango, for instance, blame communities in Acholi for their suffering, which we identified as a possible conflict trigger. The survey also helped us realise that there are still many people that need medical help to deal with remains of bullets and other injuries to their bodies from the violence that occurred during the war. Although this was not part of the survey sought to find out, the participants freely shared with us the effect of the war on their lives. During the survey, we also realised that many in these communities still have their relatives or loved ones missing as a result of the war.

We identified that there is need to carry out a well-organised process of reconciliation in the two regions through dialogues and frequent exchange visits by the Langi to Acholi since the Langi are very bitter towards the Acholi for the suffering they went through. There is also need to look towards other regions if possible since the conflict affected the whole of northern Uganda.

Look out for the results of this survey in JRP’s forthcoming UG Reconciliation Barometer.