It is worth it good people...............!!!
As if the terror by Museveni’s troops were not enough on the people, the rebels of the LRA also stepped up their atrocities against innocent local Acholi people. The LRA claim that the Acholi are government collaborators who should be paid in blood.
The LRA rebels have terrorized the Acholi since 1990. They cut off the legs of the Acholi to prevent them from walking to report the LRA to the government. They cut off the arms because arms can be used to work for the government. The LRA amputates people’s limbs to prevent them from working on Sunday because, they say, it violates the teaching of the Holy Bible. The rebels claim to believe in running their affairs based on the Ten Commandments.
Worse still, the rebels abduct and turn into soldiers children as young as 5-years old. Those who cannot carry heavy loads of rebel loot are brutally killed by other children using machetes and pounding sticks. This is to instill fear in the children so that they do not think of escaping back home. The United Nations estimates that the rebels have so far abducted and recruited over 20,000 children into their ranks.
Numerous non-governmental and humanitarian organizations recently wrote an Open Letter to Kofi Annan, the UN Secretary General, calling upon him to intervene in northern Uganda. The organizations, including Human Rights Watch, World Vision International, Christian Children’s Fund, Catholic Relief Services, American Jewish World Service and Mennonite Central Committee, implored Annan to rescue the Acholi by appointing a special UN Representative to the region. To no one’s surprise, the UN has been reluctant to focus seriously on the issue, and is treating the plight of the Acholi in much the same way as it did Rwanda during the genocide in which 800,000 Tutsi and moderate Hutu are believed to have been massacred.
“We, the undersigned non-governmental organizations working in international humanitarian and development assistance, human rights, and conflict resolution, write to express our strong concern about the severe and deteriorating humanitarian situation in northern Uganda caused by continued conflict between the Government of Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA),” said the letter, dated May 7.
Numerous individuals and peace loving organizations including a local coalition known as the Acholi Religious Leaders’ Peace Initiative (ARLPI), have tried to mediate to bring a peaceful end to the war, but to no avail. This is because Museveni’s government has always thwarted any effort that came close to a peace deal, by bombing rebel positions or pulling out the government’s peace team. Time after time, negotiations have been set back to square one.
The Acholi people still believe that someone, somewhere is willing to save them from two decades of terror. Sons and daughters of the Acholi are scattered all over the world, among them university deans, medical doctors, lawyers, pilots, engineers and members of the armed forces of the United States and European countries. They expect that the citizens and leaders of these nations will rally behind them to save the Acholi people back home.
Unfortunately, the United States and Britain have been the major donors and supporters of Yoweri Museveni since he came to power in 1986. The two countries have bankrolled Museveni’s annual budgets and armed him to the teeth. Museveni has used these weapons to terrorize the Acholi population and scare away political opposition to his government.
It is time that the leaders of the United States and Britain rethink their support for Museveni, a leader who has failed to provide for the needs and safety of the citizens of his country. It is time they stopped financing his economic and military budgets, and call for him to be made accountable to his people. Museveni has failed to bring peace not only in Acholiland but also around the Great Lakes of Africa. American and British arms and funds have allowed Museveni to spread war and terror in Uganda, Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
As you finish reading this article, remember that the Acholi have been caught between two fires – between the LRA rebels and Museveni’s government troops. They are calling for your help. Go spread the news to your leaders, councilmen and women, parliamentarians, congresspersons, your priests and pastors. Save the Acholi people. It is your turn and calling to act.
Peter Okema Otika is an Acholi from northern Uganda. He is the President of the African Students Organization at the University of Pittsburgh in Pennsylvania, and may be contacted via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
Congo rules out amnesty for top M23 rebels
Pete Jones 6 hours ago
By Pete Jones
KINSHASA (Reuters) - Democratic Republic of Congo has ruled out granting amnesty to some 100 senior M23 rebels, it said on Thursday, leaving open the possibility that these commanders could be pursued even after peace talks are concluded.
Talks began in Uganda last week, after the army, backed by U.N. troops, scored rare military successes in August, forcing M23 into negotiations which could lead to the majority of rebels being reintegrated into the army which they deserted in 2012.
"We have a list of around 100 M23 commanders who will not be eligible for amnesty or for reintegration into the national army," government spokesman Lambert Mende told a news conference in the capital Kinshasa.
Rebels ineligible for any amnesty were those who had taken part in multiple rebellions, were on international sanctions lists or had committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, Mende told journalists.
"To reintegrate these individuals would legitimate recourse to armed violence and insurrection," Mende said. The rest of the estimated 1,700 M23 rebels would be considered on a case by case basis, he added.
M23's reaction was muted. Spokesman Amani Kabashi said the government's decision would not jeopardise the negotiations.
"The dialogues will continue," Kabasha told Reuters by telephone from M23's base in its heartland North Kivu province.
"We don't even want to reintegrate. If the talks can bring security, then we are all happy to do something else: farm, or teach, to help our population," he said.
The M23 insurgency is the latest incarnation of a Tutsi-dominated rebellion that has repeatedly tried to integrate into the Congolese army, only to withdraw. Its fighters deserted en masse 18 months ago, accusing the government of reneging on a 2009 peace deal.
U.N. investigators and the Congolese government have accused Rwanda of sponsoring the rebellion, a charge Rwanda denies.
The government stance against a blanket amnesty is supported by Mary Robinson, U.N. special envoy to the region.
"We believe that there should not be amnesty for those accused of having committed serious crimes, nor should they be integrated in the armed forces of the DRC," she said this month.
Museveni and Kony Both Should Face War Crimes Tribunal
The LRA which started as a small group after the demise of Odong Latek's Uganda People's Democratic Army (UPDA) and Alice Lakwena's Holy Spirit Movement rebel groups in the late 1980's, has for decades been known for heartless atrocities against innocent unarmed civilians mostly in the Acholi region of Uganda. The rebels are known for abducting tens of thousands of children, killings and brutalities like the chopping of lips, legs and arms of innocent civilians. The rebels' excuses for these atrocities have always been that the civilians are betraying them by reporting their presence to the government army and therefore deserving the atrocities.
To anyone who is unfamiliar with the war in Northern Uganda that started in 1986 when Museveni had just come to power, Museveni's quest to prosecute Kony might sound like a sound idea coming from a responsible person. However, to those who have suffered through the years and experienced atrocities perpetrated by both the rebels and the Ugandan army, the Uganda People's Defense Forces (UPDF), Museveni is just as criminal as the Kony he is trying to prosecute.
The period 1987-1988 was the worse in the history of the Acholi and it was also at that time that Museveni's army intensified atrocities on the civilians. It was during this period that Museveni declared a state of emergency. He entrusted his commanders like his brother Salim Saleh and Major General David Tinyefunza to help him do the job. Their atrocities included the terrible forcing of Acholi civilians in a pit dug into the earth in a place called Bur Coro. The top of the pit was then covered with soil and grass, which was then set ablaze. The civilians slowly suffocated from the smoke. These sadistic killers have never been punished.
Later, the army exported such atrocities into Teso in Eastern Uganda. In an incident that was also documented by international human rights agencies, people were forced into a train wagon in a place called Amakura and were suffocated. This incident is known in Uganda as the Amakura massacre. To make it more effective and unknown to the international community, Museveni banned media reporting on war and no journalists were allowed to enter the war zone.
By 1990, Museveni had accomplished most of what he wanted; leaving tens of thousands of Acholi dead and thousands languishing in Luzira prison for alleged treason. All these are well documented and still remain fresh in the minds of the Acholi who had trusted Museveni and thought he would treat them as citizens of Uganda rather than his adversaries.
As if his terror was not enough, in 1996 Museveni declared a presidential order that stipulated that all local Acholi living in their homes in the villages be forcefully moved into concentration camps to be surrounded by government troops ostensibly to guard them against LRA rebels' atrocities. Where else in the world but in Africa would the international community today stand for such gross violation of human rights?
Museveni's troops immediately started beating up locals to run to the camps. They burnt down crops and houses of the locals so that they would not go back to their homes. The result was the creation of communal homelessness for over 500,000 people who up to now have no permanent home, and live in some of the worse human conditions in the world. Although Museveni prefers to call the camps "Protected Camps," the locals who live there know it as a concentration camp in which terror reigns and individual freedoms don't exist.
Government soldiers claiming to be guarding these camps are well known for their atrocities on the hapless civilians. They rape the women and have contributed to the increase in the rate of HIV/AIDS — now the highest in that region.
These are just few recorded incidents and yet the majority remained unreported. Similarly, the government is indiscriminately using its Helicopter Gunship and night-guided vision technology to try to spot and kill the LRA rebels. However, the majority of the unfortunate victims are innocent civilians.
Putting these and many other such government-sanctioned abuses side by side with Kony's rebels' atrocities, it is clear that Museveni too should be tried in an international criminal court for crimes against humanity.
By jumping out first to the ICC, looking for an opportunity to prosecute Kony, Museveni is behaving like a member of a band of killers who conspicuously breaks away and starts pointing fingers at his fellow thugs knowing full well that he too will have to face justice.
To heal the wounds and scars of the 18-year old genocide in Acholi, both Kony and Museveni must appear before a war crimes tribunal.
Warlord Kony ‘in a box,’ U.S. war crimes chief says
- Joseph Kony
- Stephen Rapp
- crimes against humanity
- International Criminal Court
Museveni meets Acholi leaders over OPM scam
Posted Thursday, March 21 2013 at 02:00
Yesterday’s meeting is said to have been brought forward after some MPs from northern Uganda launched a campaign to collect signatures to back their renewed call for the region to breakaway from Uganda.
The misuse of money meant for the donor-funded Peace, Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP), has triggered anxiety in the north at a time when people displaced by more than two-decades of insurgency in northern Uganda are trying to rebuild their lives.
Yesterday’s meeting is said to have been brought forward after some MPs from northern Uganda launched a campaign to collect signatures to back their renewed call for the region to breakaway from Uganda and formation of an independent country called Nile State.
Unlike the previous meeting, the Rwakitura meeting was attended by MPs, district chairpersons and RDCs from Acholi Sub-region. The delegation was led by Aswa MP Reagan Okumu, who is also the chairman of Acholi Parliamentary Group. Sources said PRDP funds, land wrangles, poor roads in the sub-region and compensation for people who were killed and those maimed by LRA rebels were set to be discussed.