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3,000 Former LRA Abductees Yet to Receive Resettlement Packages

James Okwany, the Amnesty Commission Regional Coordinator says that some 3,000 former LRA abductees from east Acholi and parts of Lango haven’t yet received their resettlement benefits.
one of the LRA reporters presents his amesty certificate for verifation before recievieving resettlement assistance in kitgum district. photo by julius ocungi

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Thousands of former Lord Resistance Army-LRA abductees in East Acholi and parts of Lango sub-region are yet to receive resettlement package from government.

The abductees most of whom were granted amnesty nearly a decade ago were mandated to receive short term resettlement packages to help them in reintegration processes within the community.

James Okwany, the Amnesty Commission Regional Coordinator says that some 3,000 former LRA abductees from east Acholi and parts of Lango haven’t yet received their resettlement benefits.

He says the delay is due to the limited funding the commission gets quarterly which only serves a few of the former abductees once released.

For instance, Okwany says the commission used to issue out assistance inform of hand hoes, plates, and cups, seeds for agriculture, mattresses, blankets, Jerry cans and 263,000 shillings.

He, however, says the commission has since changed to giving money worth 462,000 shillings to each former abductee as resettlement packages.

Okwany says 7,000 former abductees from the region have received short term assistance from, the commission over the years. The latest being 19 backlog who received 8.7 million shillings from the commission in Kitgum town in December last year.

Grace Acayo, a resident of Labongo Amida Sub County in Kitgum district who was abducted by the lra rebels says it took her 17 years to receive her resettlement package from government.

Acayo was among the lucky 19 former LRA abductees who received their packages last year at the amnesty Kitgum offices.

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Acayo disclosed that she intends to use part of the 462,000 shillings to help in educating her son to ensure he has a better future.

Christopher Nyero, a former abductee who received the resettlement package years ago, however, says the benefit has not been able to sustain him for long since it’s inadequate. 

Nyero who is now a member of a village saving group wants the commission to support their group to improve their livelihood. He says he can no longer farm because of a shoulder injury he sustained while in captivity as a result of carrying heavy anti-aircraft gun stand.

Justice Peter Onega, the chairman of Amnesty Commission, says the commission has over the years been having budgetary constraints, a reason they were unable to give out resettlement benefits to the reporters.

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This financial year, the commission received 4.5 billion shillings for its operation, out of which bulk of the fund goes for countrywide reintegration programme according to justice Onega.

Justice Onega says through the years received complaints of livelihood challenges among the reporters’ countrywide as a result of not being properly resettled.

  He notes that the commission is planning to help out the reporters in groups with ox-plough and solar panels but tasked them to commit themselves to work hard to improve their situation.

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The amnesty commission have so far granted amnesty to more than 27,000 former rebels from the allied democratic forces, West Nile Bank Front (WNBF), National Uganda National Rescue Front (UNRF II) and LRA rebel outfit since the Amnesty Act was enacted in 2000.