“Acholi in the diaspora did not support the LRA, there have been accusations that Acholi living in Diaspora were supporting LRA, why and how were those who are living in Europe supply weapons to LRA?” Asked the retired Anglican Bishop of Northern Uganda Rt Rev Macleod Baker Ochola II.
Ochola was responding to statements by some participants that Acholi in the diaspora were the main sponsors of the LRA. He said that the accusations were baseless and must be condemned: “there is no proof to support such malicious accusations.”
Ochola argued that to the best of his knowledge, no government in Europe will allow foreign citizens to engage in the trafficking of arms and remain safe in that country.
He said that even the international community cannot pinpoint with accuracy who the main suppliers of weapons to the LRA are. He said that fact that some of their support came from Khartoum is well known to the world and the government in Kampala.
“Khartoum government was the one supplying LRA with guns, but the Uganda government doesn’t want to say because the Sudan government has allowed Uganda to send their troops to Sudan soil, those who accuse Acholi in the Diaspora have no evidence,” Ochola said.
He said that the Uganda government has completely neglected the victims of the nodding disease in Acholi region as it as it fails to send drugs for treating over 7000 children affected with the disease.
“Even in education we are being sidelined, Uganda government gave 4000 scholarships to Ugandans, but northern Uganda has none,” Ochola said.
He said that only three percent of the population in Acholi are able afford to pay their children to University.
Jimmy Otim the Assistance Field Outreach Officer for the ICC said that the main focus of the dialogue with civil society, religious leaders and traditional cultural leaders was to assess the mandated activities of the ICC in the Uganda situation; he said while delivering his key note address.
Otim ask the meeting to work towards strengthening the work of the ICC in the next decade in order to rid bloodletting and impunity in the region.
He said that although reparation is needed, it can only come in or be achieved after a guilty verdict had been returned.
Participants called on the ICC to intensify collecting evidences in northern Uganda and prosecute both parties to the conflict. They questioned why top UPDF commanders who have committed war crimes and genocide in northern Uganda have never been indicted.
“We know the commander who forcefully sodomised Acholi community is that not an act of war crime and crime against humanity?” A participant who spoke on condition of anonymity asked.
He said that the ICC should also be investigated for their failure to investigate the Uganda government.
The Resident District Commissioner for Gulu Mr Chrissy Owori Odio rubbished any claim that the Uganda government had any hand in the suffering of the people of northern Uganda.
“Uganda government does not have a hand in the nodding disease, neither is it responsible for war crimes or genocide in northern Uganda,” Odio said.
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