Friday, June 30, 2006

LRA victim: 'I cannot forget and forgive'

June 29, 2006 BBC report [via CFD] copied here in full:

Following recent comments from Lord's Resistance Army rebel leader Joseph Kony in which he denied committing atrocities, Ugandan Ochola John, 25, responds by telling his story. He was abducted by rebels from his village, Namkora in northern Uganda, which was attacked in February 2002. During the attack 50 people were axed to death and he was one of 35 abductees.

Photo: Ochola John was deformed by rebels from Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army

"I wish I could be born again. It hurts me to see my reflection because of the way I now look.

The memories of it all are so painful.

It was in the night when I saw a number of torches flash at me. I was commanded to lie down facing the ground. As I did so, the rebels began raiding other houses around me.

They arrested many - tying, and lying the victims on the ground in three lines.

People were screaming from all corners of our village.

Two men were tied and forced onto the ground where their heads were joined together. The rebels tried to force me to pick up a log and hit their heads but I refused so one came for me with a knife and cut off my left ear. He accused me of being a government soldier and said that I would be finished off if I failed to smash their heads.

But then, they started smashing the people's heads themselves. I was put in the middle as they smashed the people's heads.


At about 0700 in the morning, they led 35 of us into the bush. About five kms (approximately three miles) from the scene they began taunting me, saying that I was big-headed, and because I refused to respect them I would be cooked alive.

They kept on beating us and they denied food or water from us. We complained saying we were hungry and thirsty. They stopped raping the women that were in our group and acted as though they were going to let us eat and drink. The ladies were forced to boil water in a big tin.

Shortly after this they announced that we would eat the government soldier - supposedly, me.

For a long time, the rebels took turns at beating us men with hot metal, and raping the girls.

I was already spiritually dead.

They returned to me at some point and re-tied me before chopping off my lips. They then cut off my right ear and my nose.

Some time later their commander Joseph Kony phoned, telling them to leave the place immediately.

We were then relocated about 15km further into the bush.

Bad omen

I was bleeding. I could not cry anymore and for two days I couldn't drink water.

The rebels debated for two days whether or not I was to be killed. They told me I was a bad omen and so must suffer.

My wounds had begun to rot. The smell was so bad. But still they refused me any treatment.

Then on the seventh day, because I never expected to live, I insulted their commander in the hope that in revenge he would kill me.

He just ordered his soldiers to cut off my hands. They did.

That evening I remember seeing my fellow female abductees crying. One of them had been killed and another had had her breast cut off.

I don't know how but by what I think was the eleventh day of being abducted I was still living.


The rebels kept telling me that I would soon be dead. They picked out two of the starving, tired girls that could hardly even walk from being repeatedly raped and ordered them to take me home.

The three of us were helpless. The girls were crying, inconsolably, when some government soldiers found us following a further night spent out in the open.

They took us straight to the nearest hospital where we received treatment. On reaching hospital, my wife came to see me with my parents, relatives and friends.

They found it hard to see me as a human being. I was rotting, smelly and deformed.


My wife could not find words to speak to me. She just felt very sick.

My thoughts were filled with bitterness. I hated life and wished that I had just been killed. All I wanted was to commit suicide and die.

My wife started taking care of me in the hospital. I had asked her to leave me alone, explaining that because I was deformed, I couldn't be her husband anymore.

She refused. Over and over she rejected my request, saying that the baby she was carrying for us, the child we were expecting, needed a father.

She kept saying that I hadn't asked to be deformed like that and someday God would let me know why I had been put through such an ordeal.

My wife, Grace, with time helped to suppress my terrible feelings and thoughts.

When our baby boy was born, I named him Anywar, which in our Luo language means an insult or an abuse.

I named him so because of what the Lord's Resistance Army leader, Joseph Kony, did to me.

I try, but I cannot forgive, and I cannot forget."


Peter Matthes said...

This is a very powerful post.

I am going to link it to my blog.

MuseveniKaguta said...

Lemmmings are small arctic animals that follow one after another over cliffs along the sea and fall to their deaths.
Ugandans are acting like Lemmings by choosing to follow only one leader for the past twenty years. They have limited thier options and alternatives for leadership and some day this will lead to thier demise as a nation. Why does a nation settle for only one leadership for more than twenty years, when the country is abundant with so many others with talent and ability that are just as good or better than M7?
According to the Lemming Conspiracy, Ugandans made such irrational choice because this conspiracy keeps them from expressing themselves as who they really are, with a vague feeling that they made the wrong choice but can't quite put a finger on it.
Ugandans have robbed themselves with their eyes wide open in terms of their limited choices for leadership and many of them don't even realize it! Those that think M7 is the only and only leader for Uganda in more than twenty years now, just don't know what is good for our country!
Political illiteracy in Africa is an epidemic, worse than the aids epidemic; because its so pervasive and leaders like M7 are feeding off of it and not just accumulating personal and family wealth but also the power that comes along with it. This is a calamity for our fledgling democracy.

Anonymous said...

that story has made me so sad and sick how can humanbeings think and do things like that to people it disgusts me and makes me wonder is there really a god my heart was hurting once i read that civilisation these days is just terrible the worl has gone evil everywhere i look all i see is people doing inhumane things i send my love to the family in this story i feel so sorry for them all that pain and suffering they must of went through
x louise

Anonymous said...

After reading this, I could not believe something as this would be so true, but I also know that no one could ever make such a story as this. I am very sorry you had gone through such a brutally and painfully horror. But please, do not blame the lord our savior for this. This is Satan's doings, not the lord. If the lord did not care, you would have not lived to see your child be born. I do know that what ever may be, the lord is still watching over you. I know the depression and aggrivation you are going through, but you can not turn away your loved ones only because of the way you look. Your wife and child love you no matter what you look. Love isn't about looks, its about whats in your heart, and from your story, Your wife loves you dearly no matter what you think. She was there for you before the incident happened, and from what i hear, she is there for you after.
I am not trying to be a psychic or tell anyone what to do, and I do not know or ever will experience the pain, but I do know love when I see/hear/read it.
The one who loved you the most in this situation is the lord god himself, for he gave you life to see your child be born, and to love him and teach him and protect him so he will never have to experience such things in his life. You are a big asset on his life, and I pray that one day you too will come to see that suicide is not the answer.
Just try putting yourself in your son's place. You don't love your father for what he looks like, and I'm sure your mom loves your dad far more than just looks. Before you ever try to commit suicide, just please think of all the people that you would be hurting. It would be selfish to be pushing your pain and suffering onto the one you love . The one's you need most right now are them, and in time, pain will decease, and life will be good.

Please don't take this the wrong way, for I am not out to hurt anyone, I just wish you to think before you blame, and please promise me you wont hurt yourself.

Life is to grand to throw it away to someone who wishes to throw his own life in hell for eternity. If you take your own life, You will be lowering yourself to their standards. Taking your own life will sit u in hell right next to them.

Again, I am truly sorry for the pain and suffering you had. There are just no words to express the sympathy that I have for all this.
It makes me cry just thinking about this.
You are in my prayers.
God Bless,

ANDI said...

Every time I read some of the horrors the LRA commit I can not believe that a human being is capable of doing those things.
I know it is not so much but I am working with Invisible Children to try to stop this war. I am sure that soon this thing will be over, or at least we will try to stop this.

maida:\ said...


Anonymous said...

If you want to help the other victms of joseph kony and the LRA go to
On that page they are doing great things that you can get involved with to help the children of uganda