Wednesday, December 21, 2005

UK cuts Uganda aid in poll fears

Today, BBC reports European governments have expressed concern about the prospects for a fair election in Uganda following the arrest on treason charges of the main opposition leader, Kizza Besigye.

Opposition leader Kizza Besigye under arrest in Uganda

Photo (AP/BBC): Opposition leader Kizza Besigye in Ugandan jail. Dr Besigye denies charges of treason and rape. Report excerpt:

Britain is to cut the amount of direct aid it gives to Uganda by 15m pounds because of concerns about the country's slow progress to democracy.

The money will be diverted to aid agencies in the conflict zone of north Uganda, International Development Secretary, Hilary Benn said.

A further 4m pounds is being held back pending the conduct of presidential elections due in February next year.

The announcement follows a similar move by Sweden, which diverted 4.6m pounds.

Northern Uganda is terrorised by rebel fighters who kidnap children and force them to fight.

The Lord's Resistance Army has murdered tens of thousands of people during a 19-year campaign.

They are led by Joseph Kony, who claims he is on a mission from God and wants Uganda's laws to replicate the Ten Commandments.

More than 25,000 children have been abducted and now represent 80% of the rebel force.

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