Archive for September, 2009

Attacks attributed to Ugandan-led rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) have killed at least 188 civilians and displaced 68,000 in Southern Sudan since January 2009, with 137 abductions also reported, according to the UN.

“Many innocent people are losing their lives every week, and the United Nations is very concerned about the killing, abduction, maiming and displacement of innocent civilians,” said Ameerah Haq, the UN humanitarian coordinator for Sudan.

In Sudan, Western Equatoria State has been hardest hit by the recent upsurge in attacks blamed on the LRA, which have also taken place in several regions in neighbouring Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic (CAR).

Very unfair

“During the last six weeks alone, 11 incidents of LRA attacks have been reported, seven of them in the first week of September,” Mr Haq told reporters on September 11 during a visit to Yambio, the state capital of Western Equatoria.

In Nairobi, Mr Justin Labeja, the head of the LRA’s peace negotiating team, questioned the authorship of the attacks.

“It is very unfair because nobody can come up with clear concrete evidence. Who can say this is the LRA of (leader Joseph) Kony who is doing this?” he said.

What the “real LRA” is any more is hard to pin down. When it emerged in northern Uganda in the late 1980s the LRA was made up almost exclusively of people from the region’s Acholi community, fighting perceived marginalisation.

The LRA now includes nationals from Sudan, the DRC and CAR – many as a result of recruitment-by-abduction. In Southern Sudan “LRA” has been used as a catch-all label for any armed group which attacks civilians.

However, those displaced by the latest attacks reported tactics which bore the hallmarks of the LRA, including grotesque killings and targeting church congregations.

Combating the small groups of guerrillas – experienced in jungle warfare and able to slip across international frontiers with apparent ease – has become a hard task.

Providing food

“There is not much coming from the (Sudanese) state, they are not able to provide the security that they (people) need,” said Mr Haq.

“While the humanitarian community is providing food and other non-food items, the food itself is becoming a magnet for LRA attacks… The answer to that is really how we can provide security around a perimeter.”

Extra troops from the south’s military, the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), have been sent to the region, according to spokesman Maj-Gen Kuol Diem Kuol.

“We are working hard and doing all we can to ensure the safety of civilians in the region,” he explained.

The main military force are Ugandan troops, whose soldiers have established camps in Sudan to try and hunt down the now mobile LRA units in Southern Sudan, DRC and CAR.

The UN peacekeeping mission in Sudan (UNMIS) has just 200 blue helmets based in the sprawling region of Western Equatoria.

Officials said the force has been stretched by a string of recent violent inter-ethnic clashes elsewhere in Southern Sudan.

Its mandate, one official added, needed to be beefed up by the UN Security Council to allow active military engagement against the LRA.

“We need an integrated approach to really provide security to these people, [and] that will require the support of the UN and UNMIS,” said Jemma Nunu Kumba, the governor of Western Equatoria.

“UNMIS needs to get involved just like MONUC (the UN peacekeeping mission) in Congo (DRC), to be able to repulse the rebels when they are attacking the civilians,” he added.

‘’The LRA will remain a problem and we will be unable to go home until pressure is really put on them by all sides’’

Those displaced by the LRA say more effort is needed, not simply to hunt the rebels, but to provide security that would allow people to return to their homes.

“The LRA have killed our people, and they took two of my children,” said Karina Zeferino, who fled after attacks in August on her hometown of Ezo, close to Sudan’s border with CAR.

She trekked the 155km to Yambio town with her remaining young daughter.

After the attacks, peacekeepers airlifted UN staff and aid workers from Ezo by helicopter, shutting down international humanitarian work in that area.

“People are suffering, but we cannot go home because the LRA will attack again,” added Zeferino, holding her child tightly to her side. “There is no help for us there, so that is why we have come to Yambio, but it is hard here too.”

“The LRA will remain a problem and we will be unable to go home until pressure is really put on them by all sides,” said Gaaniko Bate, a leader of the ever-growing Makpandu camp in Southern Sudan, which hosts some 2,530 refugees from DRC.

“These people will not be easily stopped,” he added. (IRIN)

As reported on Nation.co.ke

(An Article i wrote for Female2Female.co.za)

Not many know, but northern Uganda has been terrorised by war since approx 1986, those most affected by this war are the Acholi women and children.

In 1994 the Museveni Government of Uganda, forced the Acholi people out of their villages and into displacement camps, in what they say were camps designed to protect the Acholi against the Lords Resistance Army rebel attacks, however the camps were largely unprotected, and approx 35,000 children have been abducted since this war started.

In the Camps, Women face on a daily basis, violence, poverty, hunger and complete hopelessness. There is no room to grow crops and farm within the camps so the women and children need to leave the relative safety of the camps and farm elsewhere, leaving them open to be raped, abducted or murdered by the rebels. Starting their day to find the food they need to use for the days meal, a womans day in the camps is basically spent, securing, cooking and providing the days meal.

Children are faced each day with a struggle to survive, at the height of the disaster in approx 2003 2005, thousands of children used to commute from the IDP camps and villages to the main towns to seek safety and refuge from the rebels, their homes were no longer safe for them to be at night. The rebels used to come during the night and kidnap the children, slaughtering families and leaving hundreds fleeing for safety. These children were known as the Night Commuters. Since approx 06/07 most night commuting has now ceased due to the rebels leaving the northern Uganda area.

Over the last few years the rebel group has moved from northern Ugandan area and into Southern Sudan, DR Congo and Central African Republic, abducting more children and women, and leaving hundreds of thousands of people displaced.

Due to being in IDP camps there are no real concrete statistics as to the number of those abducted/missing but estimates are between 35,000 and 66,000 Children have been abducted, missing, or killed due to this war.

Today, relative calm in Northern Uganda has seen around 600,000 IDP 217s return home to their villages in Kitgum/Pader and Gulu Region. The daily struggles are still high for those in these areas. Poverty and Famine are everyday killers of children, education is limited, primary education is free but secondary is not, most of the returning IDPS have no income and cannot simply afford to educate their children so once primary education has finished so has the education for most Northern Ugandan Children.

Undetonated landmines are still highly dangerous in the fields nearby to the war zones and corpses/bones are still being found in fields along with abandoned artillery. HIV/AIDS is prevalent among northern Ugandans as they have no way or means for contraception. Rape is used as weapon of war and fear and many women in the north have been abused in some way.

Hepatitis E had a major outbreak recently in Northern Uganda due to the IDPs returning home to villages left unmanned since 1996/1996 and are forced to drink unsanitary water thus spreading water borne diseases such as Hepatitis E, stomach bugs including Diarrhoea and nodding disease.

In recent months, child sacrifices have been on the increase in Northern Uganda with up to 10 children so far in the last few months having fallen victim to child sacrifice.

The conditions of life for the Women and Children of Northern Uganda at this point in time is one of extreme poverty, famine and suffering.

Invisible Children a Non Profit organisation is working closely with the Acholi in Northern Uganda, creating micro-economic programs to help support the IDPs as well as educating over 750 children and re-building the schools of Northern Uganda. For more information or to see video’s of the IDP Camps visit Invisible Children and discover the unseen.

by: Rebecca Fowler

At Save The Aids Orphans Uganda, The number of kids has lately moved up from 69 to 80 due to the increasing need in the community where local leaders have continued to plead with us to take in the most desperate kids in the community.

While my mind reasons that taking in more is impractical, my heart bleeds upon looking these teary kids in the faces and turning them away. I understand that STAO can’t help all the needy kids in the communities but we felt like taking in just 11 more would be bearable.

The challenge however has been the state of the accommodation premises. We have rooms at present, which would well take care of 80 kids with each room taking in 7 to 8 kids and 1 caregiver. However, because we lack such supplies as beds, mattresses, blankets, bed sheets, mosquito nets and some refurbishment of the rooms i.e. plastering and painting. If we got these in place, our children would have some dignity in the rooms but due to the need, the 80 children are sharing 7 rooms instead of 11 rooms. This gives each room an average of like 11 to 12 kids per room. Imagine the congestion, some of them wet their beds and so every morning gives us work to clean and put their stuff outside to have the sun kill germs. I would pray that the Lord comes through because this state makes it hard for us to control flues skin infections and other contagious conditions.

writing to ask someone to give is one of the hardest things on any relationship or so my pride tells me. However, when more than 80 children look to you for their education and other living necessities, there is not much left to do than to ask whoever will to come alongside in the cause. tomorrow is schools’ opening day, we need over $2000 in tuition, i owe the medical clinic $700, the food supplier $1050, electricity $230, water $80, nutritional supplements $210 etc etc. all this is just in debts not mentioning what is needed to run the work. All the suppliers are looking to what we owe so as to send their own kids to school. This has put us in a desperate situation which makes me frantic hence asking for givers to consider STAO. please consider to help.
Write to us at Aidsorphanseducation@gmail.com
pastor Nelson Lufafa
www.stao-uganda.org
www.stao.no

A Bulletin Received by myself from Save the Aids Orphans thorugh Myspace Australia – http://www.myspace.com/Lufafa

Ive recently started sponsoring a Child Headed Household in Uganda.

Betty is 16 and has a 3 month old baby of her own. Both parents are deceased and she is the caregiver for her 3 brother siblings (17) (12) & (11). To help me financially be able to support these children i have/am creating a range of items such as shirts, bags, hats, postcards and stickers to help me fund this. 100% of the profits are sent to support the children through a registered non profit “Joy For Children Uganda”. The funds are used to pay for food, kerosine (they live in a no electricity area), school fee’s, medical care and clothing. Their mother passed away in 2004 from AIDs and their father many years before their mother, however the children do not recall when their father passed. Since 2004 Betty has been the main provider for her brothers.

Your purchase will help me be able to help these 5 children have a chance at a better life. CLICK HERE to go to our store

Here are some of the styles currently available to help support these children through our zazzle store

tl-end_poverty_tshirt_tshirt tl-give_peace_a_tri_unisex_shirt_tshirt tl-support_end_bag_bag tl-peace_hat

STOP THE PRESS!! WHATS THAT I READ???

A top LRA Commander has been captured by the UPDF!! YAY we are seeing action! Four other LRA junior commanders have been killed and 98 abductees rescued. Its good to see that things are being done, these scum are being pursued and those abducted are being rescued.

This war has been going on FAR TOO LONG and it is now, while action is happening that we must stand strong and UNITE our voices. Spread the word, let the world know that this is happening, that the LRA are STILL currently fighting and abducting, that the Ugandan People’s Defence Force are taking action to end the War.

98 Souls Saved, that is wonderful news to hear, such a great start to the day, after the week i have had of audits at work its a good news day. Lets just hope that the action continues. Through our awareness we are seeing action. STAND STRONG and USE YOUR VOICE.

Check out the News Report – CLICK HERE

Betty & Her Family

ALSO, Ive recently started sponsoring a Child Headed Household in Uganda. Betty is 16 and has a 3 month old baby of her own. Both parents are deceased and she is the caregiver for her 3 brother siblings (17) (12) & (11). To help me financially be able to support these children i have/am creating a range of items such as shirts, bags, hats, postcards and stickers to help me fund this. 100% of the profits are sent to support the children through a registered non profit “Joy For Children Uganda”. The funds are used to pay for food, kerosine (they live in a no electricity area), school fee’s, medical care and clothing. Their mother passed away in 2004 from AIDs and their father many years before their mother, however the children do not recall when. Since 2004 Betty has been the main provider for her brothers.

Your purchase will help me be able to help these 5 children have a chance at a better life. CLICK HERE to go to our store

June 9th. Together with Christina Vandenhengel of Invisible Children i gave a speech to the Local Blacktown City Lions Club at their Dinner Meeting.  We started with a 5 min speech regarding the Northern Ugandan’s and the atrocities they have been facing since approx 1986.  We then showed 2 x 5 min clips and ended with 5 mins of question time.  Selling approx 6 “rescue” Bracelets and a few other items the night was successful in raising even more awareness of the atrocities faced by the Acholi and now the Congolese and Central African Republic and Sudanese Citizens.

Since June 9th i have kept contact with Christina and kept on raising awareness for the Acholi and others facing hard times due to the LRA War. Have sent letters to MP’s and Celebrities and Twittered about it almost every day. I run website FREEUGANDA and have a current fundraiser which your donations are delivered straight to Invisible Children via Change.org a safe and secure fundraising website for Non Profits.

One night in August i checked my sms messages to find one from Christina, a very interesting message, it had me left wondering…what was this proposition she had for me?  Well it was an honor, a true blessing, to be asked to be the Company Secretary for Invisible Children Australia! My hard work had been shown, my dedication to the cause proven and it was an HONOR for me to accept the Volunteer Positon of Company Secretary of IC Aus. I take on this mission with pride, its going to be hard, long, labourous, joyful, sad, fun, exciting and so much more, who wouldnt want to be a part of such a wonderful cause dedicated to helping those less orphaned, abducted or in some way affected by the LRA War, a war that has been hardly reported on by media since 1986.

In September 2009 Invisible Children Australia Board of Directors will be having our first meeting to go over all of our fundraising, events and missions we have started.  We are here to help you with screenings and fundraising and anything you need to raise awareness for Invisible Children.

Schools for Schools has restarted for 2009 with an exciting new book drive mission through Better World Books

In the last few months the LRA have pushed Congolese over the Borders into Central African Republic as well as Sudan, murdering more civilians and abducting more children/women.

9th September: it is reported on New Vision a leading Ugandan Newspaper that a head LRA Commander was captured by the UPDF (Ugandan Peoples Defence Force) in Central African Republic and 98 abducted have been saved, as well as 4 junior LRA Leaders being killed in gunfight.  It is currently suspected that Kony is heading into the Darfur, Sudan region. Darfur is already facing its own Internally Displaced issues due to war with rebels, If Kony/LRA was to join forces with another extremist rebel group in Darfur, the atrocities we are seeing could be amplified.

What can you do to help Invisible Children see the end of this war? Lobby your Sentors (US), hold fundraisers, hold a screening of our documentaries at your school/church/youth group or even workplace! Have a house party and get everyone to donate some funds to Invisible Children. Purchase one of the many DVD’s, Tshirts, Books and more and show off your IC Style.  Write a letter to your Local Member of Parliment (Aus)

Check out Invisible Children’s website today and see how you can help the movement move forward to a brighter future for those affected by the LRA War.

So in the last week i have done some volunteering and letters to people for Invisible Children to try and get the profile out there in Australia.

Ive emailed Kerry-anne, Todayfm, Ten, Nine, Sbs, sent letters to Rove and John Farnham and am trying to get the Invisible Children Documentary screened on SBS television. Am gathering ideas for a fundraiser / event to hold in the near future and am awaiting to hear back to see if the Australian 2010 Invisible Children Tour will be held.

I tweet about Uganda and Africa and what is going on there at http://twitter.com/freeuganda and hopefully help alot of people understand and open their eyes to what is going on in the world.

Visit me www.freeuganda.webs.com for more information