Wednesday, April 27, 2005

UGANDA: Ex-rebels begin farming; first step to rehabilitation

Here is some encouraging news. Copy of a news report 26 April 2005, courtesy IRIN:

KAMPALA, 26 April (IRIN) - Thousands of former fighters of the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) have started farming in war-torn northern Uganda in an effort to adjust to civilian life, the minister for northern rehabilitation, Grace Akello, told IRIN on Tuesday.

"The government has provided them with the land in Gulu, and they have since ploughed over 500 acres and planted their own food," Akello said. "The land is free to all former rebels and we have over 20,000 who have returned."

Many of the former fighters have recently given themselves up to the government or been captured during battle. Others were former child soldiers rescued from the LRA, which is notorious for abducting children.

The LRA has waged a 19-year war against the government of President Yoweri Museveni, and is estimated to have abducted more than 20,000 children to serve as fighters, porters and sex slaves during that time.

Akello said the government wanted to change the people's perception of the former rebels being rehabilitated.

"When the former rebels return to the villages, fingers point at them as the people who killed, who stole and who perpetuated mayhem in the region," Akello said. "We want to change that by giving them a chance to adapt to their new life."

The Ugandan army spokesman, Maj Shaban Bantariza, told IRIN in January that the army had recruited more than 800 former rebels into its ranks. He said these soldiers now made up a new brigade, one of those charged with defeating the LRA.

The government has offered a blanket amnesty to any rebels who surrender to its forces, and has pledged to help in their disarmament, demobilisation and reintegration.


Anonymous Marcelo Koehl said...

There are different opinions on this subject.

Sunday, December 11, 2005  

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