Posts Tagged ‘kony’

When this decade started in 2001, Museveni had been in power for 15 years. As it ends, he is the only regional leader still in office who was in when it started. The events that ensured that climaxed at 3:10 p.m. on Tuesday July 12, 2005.

At that moment Uganda’s parliament was involved in what historians like to call a defining moment. It marked the end of an arduous process to amend Article 105 (2) of the constitution to remove presidential term limits.

On that day, Jacob Oulanya, the burly man with a penchant for wearing sharp suits complete with pocket handkerchief and bowtie and whose thick moustache appears to block out his nose whenever he speaks, broke his silence. The amendment, he said, had been coached not to dwell on the principle behind term limits. Rather the arguments had “zeroed down on those who like President Museveni and those who hate him.” Oulanya was at the time the MP of Moro County in Gulu district and chairman of the Legal Committee of parliament which scrutinised the amendment.

The removal of term limits on the presidency marked the maturation of political corruption. Efforts by prominent Museveni ministers against the third term campaign did not change Museveni’s determination to have article 105 of the 1995 constitution repealed. Instead, ministers Jaberi Bidandi Ssali, Eriya Kategaya and Miria Matembe were dropped from cabinet. In the end, Shs 5 million was paid to each of 222 MPs to let Museveni have his way. Only 37 MPs voted against the bill and two abstained. Did the MPs realise that his personalisation of a momentous question of principle marked the defining political moment of the last decade?

Sometimes to understand such an unfathomable question one needs an anchor in something less speculative.

In my case, it was an article by BBC Washington Correspondent Steve Kingstone on October 2, 2010 that spurred the thought. It was titled `How President Lula changed Brazil’ and it started with the paragraph: “I used to tell visitors to close their eyes as I drove them into Sao Paulo from the airport. That was seven years ago, when the first impression of South America’s biggest city was a pot-holed motorway running parallel to a stinking river…”

Does that sound familiar? Possibly yes.

At the heart of the debate was whether President Museveni could ever democratically relinquish power.

The events of July 12, 2005 have become even more poignant as the decade ends. They make 2005 the defining year of the decade. In that year, Uganda’s founding President Milton Obote died, and leading opposition politician, Rt. Col. Dr Kizza Besigye was arrested on a trumped-up rape case, Uganda ditched the Movement system for multiparty politics, and a military commando squad known as Black Mamba besieged the High Court in a flagrant re-arrest of treason suspects that had been granted bail.

Those events are comparable regionally, only to the fallout from the death in a mysterious helicopter crash of the legendary leader of the Sudanese Peoples Liberation Army (SPLA), Col. John Garanga, and the deployment of Ugandan army troops in Somalia.

They eclipse even Museveni’s election victories in 2001 and 2006, the government of Uganda peace talks with the LRA in Juba in 2006, the 2007 Kampala Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting and its entrenching of corruption, the 2009 Buganda riots, and the 2010 signing of the East African Community Common Market Protocol.

Yet some of the events, like the rift between Buganda kingdom and the central government, corruption and conduct of the February 18, 2011 general elections are already impacting on the new decade.

The Brazil story has a happy ending. Kingstone was there to cover the election in which, in November 2010, President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva passed on the baton to his anointed successor, Dilma Rousseff. In power for only eight years, Lula cleared the pot-holed motorways, pushed 29 million Brazilians into the middle class, created 2.5 million jobs in 2010 alone, eradicated hunger, improved education and health and transformed Brazil from a borrower from the IMF to a lender. On December 16, he proudly presented a review of his eight year in power to his cabinet in six volumes and is leaving office when over 80 percent of Brazilians approve of his work.

Walking along the Upper Kololo Terrace, just after the swanky Protea Hotel in the high end section of Kampala city, one easily notices a new row of bulletin billboards exhorting passersby to vote for Museveni in the Feb. 18 presidential elections.

They are professionally erected low at car windshield level to catch the driver’s eye and with just a few words. Next to them on the same road, in the section just above Kololo Airstrip, venue of national celebrations is another row of neat bulletin billboards. These ones are for MTN Uganda, a subsidiary of the South African telecom giant. The placement is possibly coincidental but very apt: Museveni’s brand colour, like MTN’s, is yellow. Going forward, it appears the fate of the most important engine of his success, big business, will become more intertwined with the fortunes of the most powerful person in Uganda, Museveni.

The decade started well enough for Museveni.

In March 2001, he trounced a pack of five to emerge with 69 percent of the vote in the presidential elections. Optimism was high. He had promised it was his last term and most voters looked forward to a peaceful transition with a new face at the top in 2006. It did not happen. Museveni clang on and as the decade ends, it makes more sense to assess what the future will be like under him than speculate on when he will quit.

Meanwhile, corruption has grown exponentially. When the decade began the biggest scandal was the Shs 11 billion purchase of four junk Mi-24 helicopters by the UPDF that was before the Justice Sebutinde Commission of Inquiry in 2001. This was followed closely by a similar probe in the Uganda Revenue Authority in 2002.

However, the money involved is laughable compared to what is being swindled today. As the decade ends, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament chaired by MP Nandala Mafabi has just completed a probe into the squandering of Shs 500 billion meant for hosting of CHOGM. Two years ago, there was the case of Amama Mbabazi allegedly influencing NSSF to buy his 400 acre land in Temangalo at Shs 11 billion.

And the impunity has burgeoned. Just as only Emma Katto, the fixer, was the fall guy in the Sebutinde junk helicopters inquiry and just as Sebutinde’s report on URA was quashed by court as her fellow commissioners, Fawn Cousens and James Kahooza, disowned it, PAC’s CHOGM report was defeated on a technicality in parliament and Mbabazi walked scot-free from the Temangalo scandal.

Many people close to Museveni are tainted. The British jailed and deported Museveni’s aide; Ananias Tumukunde for stealing Shs 117 million from the government of Uganda in inflated procurement bills. On December 9, 2009 the British handed a cheque for the amount to the IGG at a public function in Kampala. But Museveni kept Tumukunde.

As the decade ends, a WikiLeak of US diplomatic cables reveals that the US Ambassador in Kampala, Jerry Lanier wrote that two ministers, Hilary Onek and Amama Mbabazi took bribes from an oil company in what could mark the first cases of the so-called `oil curse’.

As the decade ends, oil might not be the only big business that Ugandans are to watch with trepidation.

Uganda’s biggest telecom company is losing market share in a volatile market. Its market share is down to an unconfirmed 60 percent due to competition from new entrants and its Average Revenue per User (ARPU) is the lowest in the region at US$ 5. As a result, the only good news at the MTN Towers is the 5 percent increase in subscribers to 6,215,000 by Q3 of 2010.

This gloom is in sharp contrast to the excitement at MTN at the start of the decade. The year 2001 was the second that MTN Uganda, which had been in operation for two years, made a profit. At the time, it had about 150,000 subscribers and controlled over 75 percent of the mobile phone market and 60 percent of the whole telecom market. Thomas Bragaw was the MTN Uganda Chief Executive Officer at the start of the decade. Just three months before the New Year, he had a launched the first ever fibre optic cable in Africa. It linked Kampala City’s business district and industrial area.

But big business could suffer more as big money believed to be ill-gotten has been discovered in government official’s homes instead of banks. Damian Akankwasa, a National Forestry Authority managing director had Shs900 million in his house and another Shs500 million was found in the family of Museveni’s brother, Salim Saleh.

Regionally, on July 11, 2010 Kampala witnessed twin bomb attacks that left at least 76 people dead and scores injured. The Somali-based al-Shabaab claimed responsibility arguing that it was punishment for Uganda’s involvement in the affairs of their country Somalia. As the decade ends, the referendum in Southern Sudan promises self-determination for John Garang’s people. But there is apprehension that it could ignite another regional conflict.

The 20 year-long war of Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army is quiet but not quashed. The butcher of the north is somewhere in the jungles of Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and Southern Sudan. Can he return to haunt the north? Some say, possibly not.

As reported By Mubatsi Asinja Habati – THE INDEPENDENT

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For two decades in northern Uganda, a cult-like rebel group called the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) waged war against the government and local Acholi people, launching horrific attacks on villages, towns and camps for the internally displaced.

At the height of the conflict, the United Nations called northern Uganda one of the world’s most neglected humanitarian crises. Some 2 million people – about 90 percent of Acholiland – were uprooted from their homes and tens of thousands were killed or mutilated.

The LRA kidnapped thousands of children for use as fighters, porters and “wives”. Many were forced to perform terrible atrocities – including killing their families and other children. The rebels were also notorious for slicing off people’s lips, ears and noses or padlocking people’s lips shut.

A Sudanese-brokered ceasefire in August 2006 brought relative peace to northern Uganda. But rebel leader Joseph Kony has repeatedly refused to sign a final peace deal, demanding guarantees that he will not be prosecuted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), which wants to try him for war crimes.

Kony’s rebels have camped out in remote regions of Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Central African Republic since the peace process started.

During the worst of the conflict in northern Uganda many people fled their homes to live in camps. Others were herded into the camps by the Ugandan army during counter-insurgency operations. The makeshift settlements lacked food and clean water and were vulnerable to rebel attacks.

At one time, almost 1,000 people were dying every week from disease, poor living conditions and violence, according to a 2005 survey of internally displaced in Acholiland by Uganda’s health ministry, New York-based aid agency International Rescue Committee and several U.N. agencies.

Improved security since peace talks has allowed about half of the displaced to return to their villages while about a quarter have moved to transit sites near their homes, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre says. But many people, including the elderly, disabled and orphaned, are still stuck in the camps. Despite relative peace, the problems in the north continue to undermine the country’s gains since the bloodshed and economic chaos of the Idi Amin and Milton Obote years.

Northerners ruled Uganda from independence in 1962 until Yoweri Museveni, a rebel leader from the southwest, seized power in 1986. Some critics accused him of prolonging the conflict to subdue political opposition in the north – an allegation he denies.

WHO ARE THE LRA?


Patrick Odong, 13, whose jaw was smashed by a bullet in 2002 as troops battled rebels in his village.<br> REUTERS/Patrick Olum
Patrick Odong, 13, whose jaw was smashed by a bullet in 2002 as troops battled rebels in his village.
REUTERS/Patrick Olum

Museveni’s seizure of power prompted a number of popular uprisings in the north. The LRA emerged in 1992, comprising northern rebel groups and former Obote troops. At its helm was Kony, a former altar boy and self-proclaimed prophet.

Kony, an Acholi himself, turned resentment towards Museveni into an apocalyptic spiritual crusade that has sustained one of Africa’s longest-running conflicts. Analysts say that aside from rabid opposition to Museveni, the rebels have showed no clear political goals during their insurgency.

Kony has said he is fighting to defend the Biblical Ten Commandments, although his group has also articulated a range of northern grievances, from the looting of cattle by Museveni’s troops to demands for a greater share of political power. A report by World Vision International says Kony’s spiritualism blends elements of Christianity, Islam and traditional Acholi beliefs to psychologically enslave abducted children and instil fear in local villagers.

In 1994, Sudan began backing the LRA with weapons and training and let it set up camps on Sudanese soil. Sudan was getting back at Uganda for supporting its own southern rebels during its 20-year civil war. It also used the LRA as a proxy to fight against the rebels. Sudan’s civil war came to an end in 2005 with a fragile peace deal. Khartoum says it has ended all support to the LRA. In 2002, Museveni launched a military campaign, “Iron Fist”, aimed at wiping out the LRA for good. Kony’s rebels responded by abducting more children and attacking more civilians. Some 10,000 children were seized in about a year. The number of displaced people shot up.

It was then that the phenomenon of “night commuting” emerged. Every evening tens of thousands of children trudged into towns like Gulu to sleep on the streets, rather than risk being kidnapped from their beds by the rebels. No one knows how many children have been abducted overall but the figure is widely believed to exceed 20,000. In October 2005, the ICC issued arrest warrants for Kony and other top LRA leaders, accusing them of multiple war crimes. Sudan agreed to let Ugandan troops pursue the rebels into its territory.

Within months, the LRA leaders sought refuge in neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo, rekindling historic tension between Kampala and Kinshasa. Operating from camps in Garamba National Park, in northeastern DRC, the LRA has attacked Congolese villages and towns, killed civilians and abducted children. Rebels have also attacked civilians across the border in Sudan.

HOPES FOR PEACE


A Uganda soldier sits on an amoured vehicle while escorting a U.N. convoy from Lira to Pader district, 2005.<br> REUTERS/ Joseph Akena
A Uganda soldier sits on an amoured vehicle while escorting a U.N. convoy from Lira to Pader district, 2005.
REUTERS/ Joseph Akena

South Sudan’s vice president, Riek Machar, himself a former rebel in Sudan’s north-south war, began mediating between the LRA and Museveni after meeting Kony in the bush near the Congolese border in May 2006. The LRA declared a unilateral ceasefire in early August and by the end of the month there was a truce in place.

Rebels agreed to gather in two assembly points in southern Sudan while negotiations continued. However, most rebels drifted away from the assembly points and both sides accused each other of breaking their word. A key obstacle in the negotiations is the fact the ICC global war crimes court wants senior rebels handed over for trial. The LRA has vowed never to sign a final peace deal unless Kampala persuades the ICC to drop the case – something analysts say is unlikely.

Talks between the rebels and the government have frequently stalled since 2006. In January 2008, it was confirmed that the LRA’s deputy commander Vincent Otti was dead following rumours he had been killed in late 2007. Numerous LRA deserters have said Kony shot his number two after accusing him of spying for the government. The news raised fears of a wobble in the peace process because Otti, regarded as the brains behind the group in contrast to the volatile Kony, had been a prime mover behind the LRA joining peace talks.

A possible breakthrough came in February 2008, when the Ugandan government and LRA signed a deal stipulating that Kampala would set up special war crimes courts to handle the gravest crimes, while traditional justice known as mato oput would be used for others.

This homegrown solution has the support of the Acholis, who have borne the brunt of the conflict. But Kony has repeatedly failed to show up to sign a final peace deal. With patience wearing thin, Uganda, DRC and southern Sudan began a major offensive against LRA camps in Garamba in December 2008. A U.S. official said Washington had provided equipment and helped plan the operation.

Semi-autonomous southern Sudan said its troops wouldn’t cross into Congo, but it would block any fleeing LRA rebels. The LRA responded by looting local villages, killing hundreds and displacing tens of thousands. Ugandan troops withdrew in March 2009, and the LRA continue to terrorise parts of Central African Republic, DRC and southern Sudan.

GUNS AND DROUGHT PLAGUE KARAMOJA


A Karamojong warrior at an army disarmament operation, 2007. <br>REUTERS/Euan Denholm
A Karamojong warrior at an army disarmament operation, 2007.
REUTERS/Euan Denholm

Karamoja, a semi-arid region in Uganda’s northeast along the border with Kenya, has been affected by banditry and inter-clan warfare for decades. But the drought-prone area has experienced escalating levels of violence in recent years due to an influx of arms and competition over resources. The Karamojong people are a semi-nomadic pastoral tribe who depend on cattle for their livelihood.

Their way of life has been disrupted by disputes over shrinking water supplies and a flood of cheap semi-automatic weapons trafficked from conflicts in the Horn of Africa. The influx of guns has made frequent cattle raids more deadly. The government has attempted to tackle the widespread possession of small arms through a series of disarmament programmes.

In 2006, after persistent raids, revenge killings and warrior ambushes, it began using a more aggressive approach, in which the army has surrounded villages with tanks and helicopter gunships and forcibly searched for weapons. Dozens of civilians have been killed, and cases of torture reported during the forced disarmament campaign. Houses have been burned down and hundreds of civilians have fled the violence. Traditional nomadic movement patterns have also been disrupted. The number of reported incidents fell in 2008, says Human Rights Watch, but violations continue.

The Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) says the government’s disarmament approach does not offer a sustainable solution to Karamoja’s insecurity because of the region’s economic and political marginalisation and limited ways to make a living. Karamoja is one of Uganda’s most impoverished regions, and lacks government services and institutions, including civilian policing. The neglect can be traced back to colonial times, when British administrators largely left Uganda’s northern tribes out of the process of modernisation.

Adding to the woes of poverty and violence, the population has been badly affected by successive years of drought. In May 2009 – during the hunger season – the entire population was experiencing food shortages, said the Famine Early Warning Systems Network. The region suffered a severe famine in the early 1980s, and still has the highest malnutrition rates in the country. Its livestock has been decimated by disease since 2007.

According to World Health Organisation figures, the region has very high child and maternal mortality rates compared with the national average. Rights groups are also concerned about forced evictions. In one case cited by the United Nations, a group of women and children were kicked out of their homes on the grounds that they were providing intelligence information to warriors.

Meanwhile, the government has tried to get hundreds of Karamojong who have migrated to the capital Kampala to return to the northeast. Aid agencies are worried that returns have not been voluntary in some cases, and that the government has failed to provide adequate support.

via Reuters AlertNet – Uganda violence.

* Rights group wants phone network and radio stations

* Says U.N. member countries should send in elite military

* U.N. says has not got enough troops, asked to withdraw

By Katrina Manson

KINSHASA, March 28 (Reuters) – The United Nations must boost peacekeeping forces in areas of Africa where Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels operate to stop massacres such as one that killed more than 300 people in December, a rights group said.

The Ugandan rebel group has killed and abducted people on a regular basis for the last 23 years, from Uganda, Sudan, Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo, Human Rights Watch noted in a report.

It said the United Nations has fewer than 1,000 peacekeepers in this vast and and often impenetrable areas where the rebels mount their attacks.

The U.N. says the LRA killed more than 1,200 people in a 10-month period throughout 2008 and 2009, while the rights group puts the death toll in a massacre previously unreported in the remote northeast last December at 321.

“The four-day rampage demonstrates that the LRA remains a serious threat to civilians and is not a spent force, as the Ugandan and Congolese governments claim,” Anneke Van Woudenberg, a senior researcher at HRW, said.

HRW also wants the Congolese government to work with mobile phone companies to bring network coverage to the area.

One witness cycled 60 km (40 miles) to find a telephone to inform the U.N. of the massacre, and villages that were subsequently attacked knew nothing of nearby attacks.

via Troops, cash needed to fight Uganda rebels-group | News by Country | Reuters.

(Kampala) – The rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) killed at least 321 civilians and abducted 250 others, including at least 80 children, during a previously unreported four-day rampage in the Makombo area of northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo in December 2009, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today.

“The Makombo massacre is one of the worst ever committed by the LRA in its bloody 23-year history, yet it has gone unreported for months,” said Anneke Van Woudenberg, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The four-day rampage demonstrates that the LRA remains a serious threat to civilians and is not a spent force, as the Ugandan and Congolese governments claim.”

The 67-page report, “Trail of Death: LRA Atrocities in Northeastern Congo,” is the first detailed documentation of the Makombo massacre and other atrocities by the LRA in Congo in 2009 and early 2010. The report, based on a Human Rights Watch fact-finding mission to the massacre area in February, documents the brutal killings during the well-planned LRA attack from December 14 to 17 in the remote Makombo area of Haute Uele district.

LRA forces attacked at least 10 villages, capturing, killing, and abducting hundreds of civilians, including women and children. The vast majority of those killed were adult men, whom LRA combatants first tied up and then hacked to death with machetes or crushed their skulls with axes and heavy wooden sticks. The dead include at least 13 women and 23 children, the youngest a 3-year-old girl who was burned to death. LRA combatants tied some of the victims to trees before crushing their skulls with axes.

The LRA also killed those they abducted who walked too slowly or tried to escape. Family members and local authorities later found bodies all along the LRA’s 105-kilometer journey through the Makombo area and the small town of Tapili. Witnesses interviewed by Human Rights Watch said that for days and weeks after the attack, this vast area was filled with the “stench of death.”

Children and adults who managed to escape provided similar accounts of the group’s extreme brutality. Many of the children captured by the LRA were forced to kill other children who had disobeyed the LRA’s rules. In numerous cases documented by Human Rights Watch, children were ordered to surround the victim in a circle and take turns beating the child on the head with a large wooden stick until the child died.

The United Nations Peacekeeping Mission in Congo (MONUC) has some 1,000 peacekeeping troops in the LRA-affected areas of northeastern Congo – far too few to protect the population adequately, given the area’s size. Yet instead of sending more troops, the peacekeeping force, under pressure from the Congolese government to withdraw from the country by July 2011, is considering removing some troops from the northeast by June in the first phase of its drawdown.

“The people of northeastern Congo are in desperate need of more protection, not less,” said Van Woudenberg. “The UN Security Council should stop any drawdown of MONUC peacekeeping troops from areas where the LRA threatens to kill and abduct civilians.”

In mid-April, the Security Council is due to visit Congo to discuss the peacekeeping force’s plans for withdrawal and the protection of civilians.

The Makombo massacre is part of a longstanding history of atrocities and abuse by the LRA in Uganda, southern Sudan, the Central African Republic (CAR), and Congo. Pushed out of northern Uganda in 2005, the LRA now operates in the remote border area between southern Sudan, Congo, and CAR. In July 2005, the International Criminal Court issued arrest warrants for the senior leaders of the LRA for crimes they committed in northern Uganda, but those indicted remain at large.

The Human Rights Watch research indicated that the Makombo massacre was perpetrated by two LRA commanders – Lt. Col. Binansio Okumu (also known as Binany) and a commander known as Obol. They report to Gen. Dominic Ongwen, a senior LRA leader who is believed to command the LRA’s forces in Congo and who is among those sought by the International Criminal Court. Human Rights Watch urged investigations of these commanders’ alleged participation in war crimes and crimes against humanity.

In December 2008, the governments of the region, led by the Ugandan armed forces, with intelligence and logistical support from the United States, began a military campaign known as Operation Lightning Thunder against the LRA in northeastern Congo. A surprise aerial strike on the main LRA camp failed to neutralize the LRA leadership, which escaped. In retaliation, the LRA attacked villages and towns in northern Congo and southern Sudan, killing more than 865 civilians during the Christmas 2008 holiday season and in the weeks thereafter.

On March 15, 2009, Operation Lightning Thunder officially ended, following pressure from the Congolese government, which found it politically difficult to support a continued Ugandan army presence on Congolese territory. But a covert joint military campaign continued, with the quiet approval of the Congolese president, Joseph Kabila. Both governments publicly maintain that the LRA is no longer a serious threat in Congo and that the bulk of the rebel group has either moved to Central African Republic or has been killed or dispersed.

These public declarations might have contributed to burying information about ongoing LRA attacks, leaving many victims feeling abandoned. An 80-year-old traditional chief, whose son was killed during the Makombo massacre, told Human Rights Watch: “We have been forgotten. It’s as if we don’t exist. The government says the LRA are no longer a problem, but I know that’s not true. I beg of you, please talk to others about what has happened to us.”

While the Makombo massacre is the most deadly documented attack by the LRA since the Christmas massacres of 2008, dozens of attacks against civilians have also been carried out in other areas in recent months – near the towns of Bangadi and Ngilima in Haut Uele district, in Ango territory in Bas Uele district, as well as in the Central African Republic.

In the December 2009 attacks near Bangadi and Ngilima, LRA combatants horribly mutilated six civilians, cutting off each victim’s lips and an ear with a razor. The LRA sent the victims back to their villages with a chilling warning to others that anyone who heard or spoke about the LRA would be similarly punished.

On March 11, 2010, the US Senate unanimously passed the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act. If it becomes law, it will require President Barack Obama’s administration to develop a regional strategy to protect civilians in central Africa from attacks by the LRA, to work to apprehend the LRA’s leadership, and to support economic recovery for northern Uganda. The bill is currently before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs.

“The people of northeastern Congo and other LRA-affected areas have suffered for far too long,” said Van Woudenberg. “The US and other concerned governments should work with the UN and regional parties to develop and carry out a comprehensive strategy to protect civilians and apprehend abusive LRA leaders.”

As reported by Human Rights Watch

My Opinion

(“Donor aid should come in areas where Uganda needs development not in governance,” Mr Museveni said. “I am already an expert in governance who can again lecture me about governance?”)  – “Honestly who is this guy kidding? he is an expert in governance!? so why is his country full of corrupt politicians and military officials and its countrymen do not know, information is not made public? why do people have no access to clean water? why do you have rebels attacking innocent civilians, why, why, why? oh it must be because you have such great governance skills!

Sheesh, i have not heard such crap before as what i hear from this man repeatedly! Taking into consideration it was this man who abolished term limits for presidents, thus allowing him to be president as long as he wants to.  Acts of intimidation by military and politicians of the opposite party, tortures and abductions, missing people and murder.  Not to mention the current bill going through legislation that will effectively ban “free media”. Without media free from government control, just like Iran, the country will become a dictatorship country.  Museveni YOU ARE a Dictator. You overtook a government with military force (albeit he was a dictator too) and committed crimes against humanity yet you say it was all Dr Obote and his army, I suggest to you that it was NOT all him and that you also, are responsible for mass murder, conscription of children for military use, crimes against humanity and corruption.  Regardless of the crimes committed by  Dr Obote and his army, you sir are just as evil as him. You have dictated to your country men what they need to hear and not what is actually happening. You have twisted your reasoning and bargained your way into a position of power, like Kony, you will not relenquish that power, until you do, Uganda will suffer.

I think the Donor countries have every right to call out Museveni on his lack of governance not his expertise.  Alot of his countries budget is made up from donor funds sent by these countries.  If he has and still is letting down his countrymen by being a dictator, imagine how hard their lives would become if the donor countries pulled their funds, i suggest mass malnutrition and poverty and crime would seriously escalate. Northern Uganda has finally found some kind of peace and people are moving home from the IDP camps. The country is finally coming slowly with stability and yet this man continually pushes the boundaries with his “im holier than thou” attitude. He seems to think that he is superior to his fellow man.

I really hope that for the sake of All Ugandans, Museveni is not re-elected president again, as i feel that the country will stop going forward and rather start heading in reverse. All the things that have been achieved will become like a distant memory. ”

Rebecca Fowler – Freeuganda

The Report

President Museveni has hit back in a continuing row with donors telling them not to ask questions about governance. The President’s comments on Friday came on the same day this newspaper revealed that three senior western diplomats had written to the Electoral Commission over the slow pace of reforms ahead of next year’s election.

Put aid elsewhere

Speaking during the launch of a book on economic reforms in Uganda, President Museveni said donors should not tie development assistance to demands for better governance and democracy. “Donor aid should come in areas where Uganda needs development not in governance,” Mr Museveni said. “I am already an expert in governance who can again lecture me about governance?”

While President Museveni has previously told off donors, his latest comments come amidst growing local and international pressure on his government to improve governance and protect civil liberties.

The United States government, which is a key ally, has made democracy and good governance top of its agenda in Uganda under the Obama administration and is closely monitoring the road to the election.

The US ambassador to Uganda, Mr Jerry Lanier and his counterparts Martin Shearman (UK) and Joroen Verhaul (Netherlands) on March 3 co-wrote to Badru Kiggundu, the Electoral Commission chairman, warning that a failure to carry out reforms could erode confidence in the EC and put the credibility of the 2011 election at risk.

The government has brought four Bills to Parliament in response to calls for electoral reform but donors, the opposition and independent viewers say these are inadequate.

President Museveni’s statement indicates the government’s unwillingness to respond to pressure to implement more radical reforms such as disbanding the Electoral Commission as called for by the opposition.

Donors still fund a third of the national budget but say governance failures are affecting development and national stability. The World Bank resident representative recently issued its strongest statement yet in a scathing criticism of the government’s failure to deal with corruption.

Opposition chips in
While the President wants to keep donors out of the domestic political sphere, the opposition wants more involvement by the international community.

Responding to the envoy’s letter to the Electoral Commission, the acting Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, Mr Christopher Kibanzanga (FDC; Busongora South), said: “The donors have the key; they pushed President Museveni to accept multi-partyism [in 2005] and when they called him over the Anti-homosexuality Bill, the President immediately changed his position.”

MP Kibanzanga added: “If the donors tell him to accept the electoral reforms we are pushing for as the opposition, there is no doubt Mr Museveni will accept them within days.”

Information minister Kabakumba Masiko, however, said it was irregular for diplomats to bypass the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and transact business directly with domestic institutions. “They should use the right channel and work with [government] to concretise democratic gains in the country and the achievements so far made by the EC,” she said.

via Daily Monitor: Truth Everyday; Uganda News, Business, Travel, Sports, Elections  – Museveni hits back in row with donors.

NAIROBI (AlertNet)

Written by: Frank Nyakairu

One of Africa’s fiercest rebel organisations, Uganda’s Lords Resistance Army, has denied a report that it has moved into western Sudan’s turbulent Darfur region.

A U.S.-based anti-genocide group, the Enough Project, said Ugandan rebels notorious for mutilating their victims and abducting children had found a safe haven in Darfur. But two senior members of the rebel group’s political wing in the Kenyan capital Nairobi dismissed the claims. “This is part of continued fabrications and guesswork about LRA whereabouts and we would like to dismiss this baseless report with all the contempt it deserves,” Colonel Michael Anywar, who acted as LRA military liaison, told Alertnet in Nairobi.

Led by self proclaimed prophet Joseph Kony, the LRA has fought the Ugandan government since 1987. But following the collapsed of a peace process in 2008, the rebels, who were once supported by Sudan’s President Omar al-Bashir, have since sought safe havens in DR Congo, Central African Republic (CAR) and Sudan. “It’s true that Khartoum once supported LRA but that kind of support stopped in 2002 after which we chose cut those ties,” said Justine Labeja, who said he is the head of LRA peace delegation.

Analysts say that with political tensions flaring in Sudan, the LRA is likely to strike an alliance with the Khartoum government as a regional mercenary force. The cult-like group, accused of turning boys into child soldiers and girls into sex slaves, seeks to rule Uganda according to the Bible’s Ten Commandments. At the height of Kony’s war, thousands were killed and 2 million Ugandans were forced into precarious camps that dotted northern Uganda and southern Sudan for close to two decades. Both men declined to disclose the whereabouts of LRA leader Kony, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

CALL FOR CEASEFIRE

The rebel representatives also echoed recent calls for peace talks made by a religious leaders’ group from the four countries affected by the LRA activities. “Ugandan forces need to heed to this call for ceasefire so that this war can end once and for all,” said Labeja, who says he coordinates LRA’s external affairs. But the Ugandan army, which has been fighting the LRA in Congo, Sudan and CAR, with little success, insists on a military option. “We gave LRA the best option to talk peace but they decided to squander it,” said Lt. Col. Felix Kulayigye, a spokesman for Uganda’s military.

He said military intelligence indicated the rebels had bases in CAR and southern Darfur but could not confirm any link between the LRA and its former ally, Khartoum. “They are oscillating between CAR and southern Darfur but we have no information that they are receiving any kind of help from anyone,” said Kaluyigye in a telephone interview from the Ugandan capital. Relations between Kampala and Khartoum have always been fraught as Uganda supported rebels now heading the semi-autonomous government in southern Sudan.

COULD DARFUR CRISIS WORSEN?

Darfur’s conflict surged in 2003 when the rebel groups took up arms against Sudan’s government, accusing it of leaving the mostly desert region underdeveloped. If the LRA joins the complex web of Darfur’s conflict, the scale of human suffering could increase, the U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) warns. “The LRA has been leaving a trail of devastation from their bases in DRC, South Sudan and CAR. If they go to Darfur, we could seen more displacement there,” said Hassan Yusuf, UNHCR’s regional spokesman based in Nairobi. According to the U.N. refugees agency, the LRA caused most of the displacement in central Africa in 2009 with hundreds of thousands uprooted.

The rebels have looted, killed civilians and abducted children from three countries, forcing many to flee their homes, according to a report by Human Rights Watch. “This is a very unpredictable outfit and it makes it very difficult to plan for humanitarian response,” said Yusuf.

via Reuters AlertNet – Ugandan rebels deny they have moved in to Sudan’s Darfur.

“Calls for ceasefire have been tried and yet the LRA have refused to sign the peace agreements. Kony must realise that now the international conmmunity is involved in this since he spread his war from Northern Uganda to surrounding countries, he will not get the “lifting” of his Warrants by the ICC. The time has come for him to be captured and tried at the hague just like Suddam hussain was tried.

Could Darfur’s crisis worsen? Yes most definately, if the LRA was to gain any support and they choose to stay in the Darfur region, this will likely cause issues, especially with the elections coming to split the nation.  The North will never want to let go of the south and the oil without a fight. This is what it comes down to; power, money and greed. Will the Khartourm give up control of such wealth and power and money? i highly doubt it, i forsee more issues ahead for those of Darfur not only by the LRA but by the political process that will soon take place. ”

Rebecca Fowler – Freeuganda

YouTube – Koh Reports – Embracing Evaline.

The story of a beautiful young Ugandan lady. I am honored to be a friend of her’s on Facebook and one day hope to meet with Evaline. God bless those still trapped in the bush, may this war have an end soon.  With International pressure we call all lend a hand in ending this war. Visit Invisible Children and see how you can help.

Kampala — THE UPDF 4th Division commander, Brig. Charles Otema Awany, has camped at Obbo village in the Central African Republic to coordinate operations against the LRA remnants headed by Joseph Kony.

The regional army spokesman, Capt. Ronald Kakurungu, said Otema took over the command against the LRA rebels from Brig. Patrick Kankiriho.

“The hardcore LRA criminals are in the Central African Republic. The issue now is when to put the final nails on them since they are already defeated,” Kakurungu told journalists at his office on Monday.

He said the situation in the north was calm with more troops deployed in the DR Congo, the Central African Republic and at all the borders to pursue the LRA rebels and ensure that they do not return to Uganda.

“We have not lost focus in these operations and our mission is to ensure that the problem of LRA rebels does not spill over to the north again,” Kakurungu noted.

Kakurungu said the army had killed 305 rebels since it launched a joint military offensive, Operation Lightning Thunder, on December 14, 2008, under the command of Kankiriho.

He said the UPDF jointly attacked the LRA hideouts with the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army and the Congolese army in an operation backed by the air force, paratroopers and infantry.

Read the full report via allAfrica.com: Central African Republic: Army in CAR to Fight Kony.

After reading Peter Eichstaedt: Another year for Kony and the LRA. its just confirmed what i thought to be true about Kony and the Khartoum (possibly) helping him. I said to a few people that if Kony made it to Darfur and was able to regroup the atrocities committed would be explosive.

In recent days reports have been coming through of captures and killings of LRA Rebel forces, but yet Kony still remains at large.  This one man seems to be capable of eluding forces time and time again.

The re-grouping of child soldiers is a violent act and against all human rights. these children are blackmailed, brainwashed and forced to commit atrocities. We need to do more to raise awareness for the plight of all child soldiers.

Through Invisible children over 200 US Congress have co-sponsored the LRA Disarmament and Northern Ugandan Recovery Act 2009, this is campaigning its way to the white house as we speak and they require the help of all the push this bill through. Visit Invisible childrenand check out how you can help end the longest running war in africa.

With the vast improvements in technology these days it is our duty to help those who are less fortunate. Current numbers say only around 5% of northern Uganda has electricity. To live in this century and not have access to electricity, fresh water, medical health and most of all food is atrocious. While westerners throw out tonnes of food each year to waste, over 1 billion* people are going hungry (*via WFP).

I find it hard these days to waste and i refuse to live as though we “have it all” when others have nothing. Poverty is so severe in some places lika Africa, Indonesia, Cambodia and many more, and when i see the amount of waste in my country (australia) it really hits home just how “self centred” our lives have become.

This year i am dedicating some more of my time to be more actively involved in my local community for those less fortunate as well as those abroad in other countries such as Uganda, Congo, Sudan and the like.

People ask me why i centre on Africa and its quite simply because i feel we need to take responsibility for colonilisation of africa. Alot of the issues going on there, all stem back to this time when white man entered and “took over” their countries, pitted northerner’s against southerner’s etc and thus come civil wars and rebel groups, corruption and more. Also, so much goes on in africa it gets very time consuming to spread the area to a vast local (not enough reading time with 3 young children).  A good clip to watch on the colonolisation of Africa is HERE

Each day i read reports of news from all over the world and im determined to make 2010 a year of change for myself, my family, local community and global community, i hope that others can do the same, only with all of us doing this together can we acheive the change we need for the world to survive.

*FreeUganda – Rebecca Fowler

Who was Bok Abudema?

Abudema hails from Alero-Lamogi in Amuru district. He worked as a sugarcane cutter in Jinja during the Obote II regime.

When President Yoweri Museveni seized power in 1986, he joined the UPDA, a rebel group composed of soldiers of the former Okello regime which fought to overthrow the new Government.

He joined the LRA in 1988 after Kony was attacked by Museveni’s NRA at Bwobo railways station in Alero Sub-county, Gulu District. He was one of the few remaining LRA fighters who had joined the rebel group voluntarily.

Abudema was involved in many massacres in northern Uganda. In 1998, he took part in the killing of 11 LRA fighters who were accused of practicing witchcraft in Jebelein, the LRA camp in Southern Sudan.

In December 1999, after the passing of the Amnesty Act by the Ugandan Parliament, he executed the then number two, Otti Lagony, in their camp in Sudan on Kony’s orders.

In 2002, Abudema commanded a raid in Agoro Sub-county in Kitgum district in which several civilians and UPDF soldiers died and at least 100 people were abducted. The trading centre was looted and the military barracks burnt down.

In April 2002, he took part in a massacre of about 800 civilians at Katire village in Southern Sudan.

In 2003, he was among the senior LRA commanders who crossed into the Teso region in eastern Uganda and carried out horrific massacres and massive abductions.

On October 2, 2007, he took part in the execution of Kony’s deputy, Vincent Otti, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Abudema shouted the order ‘fire’ to the firing squad. Earlier, he had participated in arresting, torturing and humiliating Otti.

He was reportedly wounded during the December 14, 2008 air strikes on the LRA camps in eastern Congo under the joint offensive.

via Welcome To The Sunday Vision online: Uganda’s leading weekly.

Army in CAR to fight Kony
Sunday, 3rd January, 2010

E-mail article E-mail article Print article Print article
By Chris Ocowun

THE UPDF 4th Division commander, Brig. Charles Otema Awany, has camped at Obbo village in the Central African Republic to coordinate operations against the LRA remnants headed by Joseph Kony.

The regional army spokesman, Capt. Ronald Kakurungu, said Otema took over the command against the LRA rebels from Brig. Patrick Kankiriho.

“The hardcore LRA criminals are in the Central African Republic. The issue now is when to put the final nails on them since they are already defeated,” Kakurungu told journalists at his office on Monday.

He said the situation in the north was calm with more troops deployed in the DR Congo, the Central African Republic and at all the borders to pursue the LRA rebels and ensure that they do not return to Uganda.

“We have not lost focus in these operations and our mission is to ensure that the problem of LRA rebels does not spill over to the north again,” Kakurungu noted.

Kakurungu said the army had killed 305 rebels since it launched a joint military offensive, Operation Lightning Thunder, on December 14, 2008, under the command of Kankiriho.

He said the UPDF jointly attacked the LRA hideouts with the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army and the Congolese army in an operation backed by the air force, paratroopers and infantry.

The forces withdrew from Congo early last year when the time granted by the Congolese government for the operations elapsed. However, the army maintained intelligence units to help the SPLA and Congolese army clear LRA remnants, Kakurungu added.

He also explained that the army with the Police have been conducting a national de-mining programme in the north.

“There was a big concern by the IDPs about the mines in return areas. Most of these areas were battlefields and, not yet safe for settlement,”

Kakurungu stated that the UPDF and the Police recovered ammunition in the return areas in Gulu, Amuru, Pader and Kitgum.

Some of the weapons recovered included 23 land mines, 277 grenades and 154 rocket- propelled grenades.

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New Vision Online : Army in CAR to fight Kony.

Yesterday, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay released two new reports that detail Joseph Kony’s campaigns of violence against civilians in northeastern DR Congo and South Sudan over the past year. The reports are the first public accounting of recent LRA crimes from the UN.  Joseph Kony

Pillay described LRA brutality as “consistent, deliberate and egregious,” and the report includes gruesome witness accounts such as that of one man who “reported discovering the mutilated body of a fellow villager. The villager’s leg had been chopped off, his jaws had been dislocated and his teeth had been pulled out.”

In her press briefing about the reports, Pillay called for regional governments and international leaders to enforce outstanding International Criminal Court warrants for the arrest of Kony and other senior LRA commanders, and for UN peacekeepers to act more boldly to protect civilians from the widespread violence.

Even though the reports conclude that LRA violence constitutes one of the deadliest situations of violence in the world – the rebel group murdered at least 1,300 civilians over the past year – few international leaders have called for aggressive international action to execute the warrants. LRA violence is taking place in incredibly remote areas of the Congo, Sudan, and Central African Republic, and international attention to the region has been focused much more on separate situations of violence in eastern Congo and Sudan.

The UN reports come amdist  growing fears that the LRA intends to repeat the “Christmas Massacres” of 2008, in which hundreds of Congolese civilians celebrating the holiday were brutally killed. UN peacekeepers in the Congo are deploying additional troops and are said to be on “high alert” to address this immediate threat.

As reported: United Nations rights chief: “Arrest Joseph Kony” | Resolve Uganda.

The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA)

The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) , led by Joseph Kony, operated in the north from bases in southern Sudan. The LRA committed numerous abuses and atrocities, including the abduction, rape, maiming, and killing of civilians, including children. In addition to destabilising northern Uganda from bases in Sudan, the LRA congregated in the Bunia area in eastern Congo. They linked up with the Army for the Liberation of Rwanda (ALIR) and other rebel groups battling with forces from the Rally for Congolese Democracy (RCD)

Some accused the Sudan of supporting the LRA and Uganda of allegedly supporting the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA), the rebel movement that fought against the Sudanese government. Although both governments denied the accusations, they severed diplomatic relations with eachother on April 22, 1995. However, relations between the two countries improved. In 1999, Sudan and Uganda signed an agreement under which Sudan said it would stop aiding the LRA and Uganda would stop aiding the SPLA.

The LRA continued to kill, torture, maim, rape, and abduct large numbers of civilians, virtually enslaving numerous children. Although its levels of activity diminished somewhat compared with 1997, the area that the LRA targeted grew. The LRA sought to overthrow the Ugandan Government and inflicted brutal violence on the population in northern Uganda. LRA forces also targeted local government officials and employees. The LRA also targeted international humanitarian convoys and local NGO workers.

The LRA has abducted large numbers of civilians for training as guerrillas; most victims were children and young adults. The LRA abducted young girls as sex and labor slaves. Other children, mainly girls, were reported to have been sold, traded, or given as gifts by the LRA to arms dealers in Sudan. While some later escaped or were rescued, the whereabouts of many children remain unknown.

In particular, the LRA abducted numerous children and, at clandestine bases, terrorized them into virtual slavery as guards, concubines, and soldiers. In addition to being beaten, raped, and forced to march until exhausted, abducted children were forced to participate in the killing of other children who had attempted to escape. Amnesty International reported that without child abductions, the LRA would have few combatants. More than 6,000 children were abducted during 1998, although many of those abducted later escaped or were released. Most human rights NGOs place the number of abducted children still held captive by the LRA at around 3,000, although estimates vary substantially.

Civil strife in the north has led to the violation of the rights of many members of the Acholi tribe, which is largely resident in the northern districts of Gulu and Kitgum. Both government forces and the LRA rebels–who themselves largely are Acholi–committed violations. LRA fighters in particular were implicated in the killing, maiming, and kidnaping of Alcholi tribe members, although the number and severity of their attacks decreased somewhat compared with 1997.

The LRA rebels say they are fighting for the establishment of a government based on the biblical Ten Commandments. They are notorious for kidnapping children and forcing them to become rebel fighters or concubines. More than one-half-million people in Uganda’s Gulu and Kitgum districts have been displaced by the fighting and are living in temporary camps, protected by the army.

Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

The Ugandan army says that it has killed a senior commander of the Lord’s Resistance Army militant group in the Central African Republic (CAR).

Bok Abudema was killed on Friday along with one of his fighters, while two women found with them were freed, an army spokesman told the BBC.

The army said LRA leader Joseph Kony was moving between the CAR and Sudan.

Ugandan forces have been operating outside the country’s borders for a year in a campaign to destroy the LRA.

They have been deployed in northern Democratic Republic Congo and southern Sudan as well as the CAR to track down the LRA, which once operated in northern Uganda.

BBC map

Army spokesman Lt Col Felix Kulayigye said that Mr Kony was moving between the CAR and Darfur in southern Sudan in order to escape Ugandan army patrols.

Bok Abudema is only one of a number of senior LRA commanders who have been cornered and killed, says the BBC’s Africa editor, Martin Plaut.

Others have surrendered but the LRA is scattered across a remote region of dense forests and swamps, savannah and deserts – ideal territory for guerrilla operations, our editor says.

Last month the UN human rights commissioner, Navi Pillay, demanded the capture of LRA leaders for crimes against humanity and gave details of the killings, torture and rape of hundreds of civilians by the rebels.

She accused the movement of killing at least 1,200 civilians between September 2008 and June 2009.

BBC News – Uganda reports killing LRA commander Abudema in CAR.

” Lets hope that 2010 is the year that Joseph Kony is bought to justice for all the innocent victims of this atrocious war. for him to be skipping back and forth between CAR and Sudan is an eerie thought, so ok some of his rebels have been caught, killed or defected, yet it only takes a handful of rebels to go back out and attack another village and abduct another lot of children for the atrocities to re-start again. Don’t close your eyes to this war…to do so could take a life” Rebecca Fowler

Lira: about 1,300 civilians have died in Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo in 10 Months following Human Rights abuses allegedly committed by rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army, according to latest periodic reports by United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.

One report on southern Sudan reveals attacks on civilians in Western and Central Equatoria States, between December 15 2008 and March 10 2009.

The report on the DRC states that at least 1,200 civilians were killed, including women who were raped before execution. According to the report, more than 100 people were wounded by gunshots and stabbing and about 1,400 people were abducted and some executed or are missing.

Sexual slavery”During their captivity, abductees were subjected to forced labour in fields, forced to carry looted goods or personal effects or recruited into the LRA. Women were forced to marry LRA members, subjected to sexual slavery, or both,” the report released last week said.

It adds: “Thousands of homes, dozens of shops and businesses, as well as public buildings, including at least 30 schools, health centres, hospitals, churches, markets, and traditional seats of chiefdoms, were looted, set on fire and over 200,000 people were also displaced.”

Describing harrowing experience from victims, the report called on the international community to co-operate with the ICC in investigating, arresting, and transferring all LRA leaders accused of international crimes.

The report also accused the DRC army, FARDC, of human rights violation of the displaced persons instead of protecting them.

“Soldiers of the Congolese armed forces, supposed to protect civilians, also committed human rights violations, including executions, rape, arbitrary arrests and detentions and illegal, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and extortion,” the report said.

The report stated that attacks, systematic and widespread human rights violations carried out since mid-September 2008 against Congolese civilians may constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The Sudan report on the other hand based on 27 confirmed attacks, reveals that at least 81 civilians were killed in attacks and many others injured.

“The evidence presented in this report suggests that LRA actions may amount to crimes against humanity,” the report says. The reports recommended that the United Nation Mission in Sudan should exercise its protection of civilians since its mandated to prevent further loss of life.

“The international community, including governments, should cooperate with the ICC to search for, arrest and surrender the LRA leaders accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity. The international community should support meaningful peace efforts between governments in the region and the LRA,” the report recommends.

Issues in report

Women were forced to marry LRA members, subjected to sexual slavery or both.

Thirty schools, health centres, hospitals, churches, markets, and traditional seats of chiefdoms, were looted, set on fire. Over 200,000 people were displaced.

The report describes the report as systematic and widespread human rights violations carried out since mid-September 2008 against Congolese civilians may constitute war crimes and crimes against humanity.

DRC army accused of violating rights displaced persons instead of protecting them.

As reported: allAfrica.com: Uganda: LRA Kill 1,300 in Sudan, DRC.

Enough, the anti-genocide project at the Center for  American Progress, released the following statement today regarding incursions by the Lord’s Resistance Army rebel group against civilians in the Democratic Republic of the Congo:

Recent interviews conducted by Enough Project researchers traveling in Haut Uele and Bas Uele in Province Orientale, in northern Congo, suggest that the Lord’s Resistance Army–a transnational terrorist group with a 20-year record of atrocities–is threatening to repeat the massacres it committed during Christmas 2008, in which over 800 Congolese civilians were brutally murdered. Meanwhile, Congolese army units deployed to protect local populations from the LRA continue to commit grave abuses against Congolese civilians. // The LRA have killed nearly 1,500 Congolese civilians and abducted 3,000 more (including at least 700 children) since the Ugandan army launched an offensive against the LRA in December 2008. The presence of 6,000 Congolese soldiers in Province Orientale–many of them integrated brigades of former rebels and local militia from the troubled Kivu provinces in eastern Congo–has actually made matters worse. The U.N. Mission in the Congo, or MONUC, has deployed to the affected region, but peacekeepers conduct only limited patrols in some LRA-affected area that provide little deterrent against LRA attacks and Congolese army abuses. A battalion of Tunisian reinforcements that was supposed to deploy in June 2009 has yet to arrive.

Read the full report Below

allAfrica.com: Congo-Kinshasa: Lord’s Resistance Army’s Sends Chilling Threat to Congolese Civilians – We Will Celebrate Christmas With You Page 1 of 1.

So i’ve finally decided!! I’m submitting my application to University of Western Sydney for Bachelor of Social Sciences Peace and Development!  It was a tough decision between that and Bachelor of Communications Journalism but i finally decided. I think it would be a great thing to be formally trained in an area i am passionate in. I’m really looking forward to going to University, as i really never thought i would get a chance to do it.

Through volunteering with Invisible Children i have uncovered a side of me that id never really knew existed. I want to continue to expand, grow and further my knowledge so i can in turn be of more help to those who require it the most.

So…Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes are in the air for me and my life and i really am excited. I’m going to apply to start mid year so that way i have around 6 months to get my medication settled and hopefully all my ongoing tests done and be cleared for start June 2010!

Hi Everyone. I am seeking sponsors to help send me go on my Volunteer Trip to Northern Uganda. CLICK HERE to visit my Sponsorship Page

During my time in Uganda i will be visiting what is left of the Displacement Camps in Northern Uganda as well as spending some volunteer time in the Invisible Children office in Gulu. and the Compassion centre in Kaboywa and visiting the Northern Ugandan Villages that are currently being rebuilt.

Northern Uganda has been rocked by a raging war over the last 23 years and peace is only now starting to return to Northern Uganda. These people have been in displacement camps since approx 1996 and require help, councelling, food and much more to re-start their lives in their old villages. visit www.invisiblechildren.com to watch the documentary and see what they are doing for the people of Uganda.

Travelling Between June – December 2011 and staying for 3/6 weeks.

I am currently a volunteer for Invisible Children Australia and sponsor 6 children Uganda as well. I am aiming to spend 3-6 weeks in Uganda doing volunteer work and expanding my knowledge on the area and affected persons so that i can fully understand the needs of these people to help continue to commit myself to the Invisible children cause as Company Secretary for IC AUS – All Australian positions are volunteer only and we are not employed by Invisible Children or receive any monetary goods or cash for our actions.

As a mother of 3 children myself i am currently unable to cover all the costs associated with getting the tickets and travel arrangements covered as well as the associated costs with the camera’s and such to be able to document this journey for my sponsors. I have been a volunteer my whole life with my parents through Lions Club International but have found my own calling in invisible children.

I will be documenting my journey through Uganda through video and pictures. I have created the website FreeUganda and currently run this as well as the twitter page @freeuganda and a blog as well as run the offical Invisible Children OZ Twitter @InvisibleOZ and i also run ALL FOR CHARITY store with 100% of profits are donated.

Each sponsorship amount is greatly appreciated and i urge you all to join up to FreeUganda to check out what is going on in Uganda and the status of sponsorship etc.

I Thank you kindly for your sponsorship as without your support i will not be able to fulfill this mission in my life.

Thats right!! Until 10/12 you can get FREE SHIPPING to AU when you purchase over $45 worth of products from our store.

All For Charity

Remember! 100% of the royalties on each item made is donated to either: Invisible Children, The Coalition (to stop the use of) Child Soldiers and to a Child Headed Family in Uganda of 5 Children – You can view more details here re: betty and her family.

All these items have been created to raise awareness whilst the royalties go to great non-profits or direct to betty (via joy for children uganda) to help where needed.

If you go through our webstore via the link above and purchase something from someone else’s store, we ill be paid a referral fee for this and in turn any and all referral fee’s we receive we will pass onto Betty in Uganda/Invisible Children.

So far we have made in Royalties $45 and this will be donated at the end of December 2009. To give you an idea we make between 0.40c and $7.50 royalties depending on the item.

I want to thank everyone who has purchased items from this store, your helping to bring awareness to those around you and also helping those who are far away.

THANK YOU

My All For Charity store has just gotten even better at supporting Africa.  Our range has now gone EDUN LIVE – a great range of African farmed cotton and made tshirts. Information as below:

From EDUN LIVE, the Adam Organic t-shirt is super comfy and ultra soft. A straight-fit tee, its 100% Ecocert certified organic, ring-spun African cotton, combed for comfort (145g.) Tumble dry low. (Not pre-washed). Washes like a dream. Made in Uganda using sustainable manufacturing practices.

From EDUN LIVE, the Eve Organic t-shirt is ultra soft. A straight-fit tee, it’s 100% Ecocert certified organic, ring-spun African cotton, combed for comfort (145g.) Reinforced stitching. Tumble dry low. (Not pre-washed). Washes like a dream. Made in Uganda using sustainable manufacturing practices.

So feel great knowing that not only are the profits of the shirts going back to those in Uganda – (betty’s family and Invisible Children) but also the shirts themselves are sustaining those in Uganda!

The situation in northern Democratic Republic of Congo where Lord’s Resistance Army rebels operate is getting worse, a medical charity says.

Medecins Sans Frontieres told the BBC hundreds of thousands of people are fleeing renewed rebel attacks.

LRA leader Joseph Kony once operated from Uganda but his fighters now cover a vast area of central Africa.

Analysts says attempts this year by regional armed forces to halt the brutal campaign have so far failed.

The armies of Uganda, southern Sudan and DR Congo have been carrying out offensives against the rebels since Mr Kony refused to sign a peace deal late last year.

The rebels are infamous for carrying out mutilations and have kidnapped tens of thousands of children to be fighters and sex slaves.

Tens of thousands of people have also been made homeless during the LRA’s two-decade insurgency.

‘Living in fear’

MSF says roads in northern DR Congo are now so insecure that aircraft are being used to take supplies and staff to remote locations.

“The situation is really bad: the people are living in constant fear, they’re fleeing,” MSF’s Operational Director Meine Nicolai told the BBC’s Network Africa programme.

“The violence pops up in different areas and it’s really expanding. It came to Congo in 2008 and now it’s going more and more eastwards so the area is expanding and people live in constant fear.”

Ms Nicolai said civilians were being targeted.

“People are kidnapped, raped, their houses are burned; they’re fleeing, they leave everything and there’s no way that they can return.”

She said people desperately need food, water, medical care and psychological support.

Reports from the region suggest there are several groups of LRA fighters: some in DR Congo and another 1,300-strong force in the Central African Republic, led by one of Mr Kony’s deputies.

Mr Kony himself is reportedly moving northwards, with reports suggesting Ugandan special forces are using helicopters to attack his group from Yambio in southern Sudan.

BBC Africa analyst Martin Plaut says there are also suggestions, yet to be confirmed, that Mr Kony’s aim is to take his forces into the Sudanese region of South Darfur.

Last year Mr Kony, who is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity,

failed to sign a peace deal with the Uganda government brokered by southern Sudan.

READ THE FULL REPORT HERE

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