Simon Watmon was abducted as a young father of two small children by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in 1996. After 5 years and at the rank of a junior commander, he risked everything to return home via Sudan. Settled back in Pajule, he encountered many of the same challenges faced by all those who escaped: poverty, stigma and rejection by his family. Rather than be defeated by these, Simon emerged as an informal leader amongst his peers and is today recognized as a peace builder at the community level.
This Field Note documents the experience of Simon. It is a case study of how former Lord’s Resistance Army captives are not just victims, but can also be agents of social change and reconciliation. His story is illustrative of previous JRP reports: With or Without Peace: Disarmament, Demobilization and Reintegration in northern Uganda and Sharing the Burden of the Past: Peer support and self help among former Lord’s Resistance Army youth. These two reports offered insights into the challenges currently faced by returning combatants and how a peaceful and successful disarmament demobilization and reintegration (DDR) process, and coping with the devastating impact of the twenty year conflict in Northern Uganda, could take place.
To access the report, click here.