“Victims of LRA demand compensation,” Daily Monitor, 7 February 2011
By Warom Felix Okello
Hundreds of people living near Murchison Falls National Park who survived attacks by the Lords’ Resistance Army rebels are demanding compensation from government.
Some of the residents suffered bullet wounds, lost their property while others had their relatives killed during numerous ambushes in the park- the epicentre of the attacks in West Nile.
Under the West Nile Kony Rebel War Victims Association, they are demanding that financial compensation and support be given to them. The association chairman, Mr Sam Buti, said: “Even though we suffered tremendously, we have not received any substantial support from the government which should have ensured our protection,” he said.
Records by the association indicate that Nebbi has 500 victims, Arua 400, Zombo 300, Yumbe 200, Koboko 250 and Adjumani 600. Mr Buti said the over 2,750 war victims are mainly from the urban areas.
“We lack finances to enable us trace those in rural areas. If bomb victims can be compensated within days, why not us?” he asked.
Ms Norah Fuathuma, whose child was abducted, said she is still waiting for the return of his son whether dead or alive. “I think the ICC should come to our rescue because I think our leaders are not mindful of compensating us. The LRA leaders should in fact be taken to ICC because the use of force is not yielding any fruit,” she said.
Joseph Kony has led the LRA in its guerrilla-style war against the government forces, leaving civilians in northern Uganda caught up in the war. Thousands of people were killed, houses burnt, children and women abducted, as the government sent hundreds of residents into internally displaced camps.
A peace effort between the two groups, mediated by South Sudan’s Riek Machar yielded no fruit in 2006. As the sound of guns fell silent, residents are returning to their villages and rebuilding their lives.