The Beasts at Burcoro – FN XVIII, July 2013

Recounting Atrocities by the NRA’s 22nd Battalion in Burcoro Village in April 1991

The Beasts at Burcoro - Recounting Atrocities by the NRA’s 22nd Battalion in Burcoro Village in April 1991, JRP Field Note XVII, July 2013

The Beasts at Burcoro – Recounting Atrocities by the NRA’s 22nd Battalion in Burcoro Village in April 1991, JRP Field Note XVIII, July 2013

Located 16 kilometers northeast of Gulu town, in the sub-county of Awach, Gulu District, lies the quiet village of Burcoro. Despite its apparent tranquility, a sinister past remains hidden behind the welcoming faces of its inhabitants. Between the 14th and the 18th of April 1991, Burcoro was the scene of a brutal operation carried out by the 22nd Battalion of the National Resistance Army (NRA) in which several hundred people were detained at Burcoro Primary School. They were released only after being interrogated, tortured, and sexually abused throughout the four days of the operation.

This report presents a detailed account of the events that took place on those fateful days in April 1991 based on individual interviews and focus group discussions with victims and survivors. It also explores the enduring challenges they face, including not knowing the whereabouts of relatives that were taken by the soldiers and chronic health issues arising from their ill treatment. We highlight the plight of men and women who were abducted, widowed or raped as part of the operation, and note the Government’s responsibility and unfulfilled promise to properly compensate the victims and their relatives.

Lastly, the report makes specific recommendations based on discussions with the affected community members which are directed at the GoU and relevant stakeholders in the region. These call for government to apologize, hold the perpetrators accountable, and provide compensation to victims, while civil society should support the community’s desire to put in place a memorial and help meet their healthcare needs.

Read the entire Field Note here: Burcoro (PDF)

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