The victims say the war has greatly affected their social lives, even more than a decade after guns fell silent with majority citing trauma as the biggest challenges they continue to battle.
Yakobo Okello 82, a victim of the lords resistance army insurgency in agago district. photo by julius ocungi
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Several victims of the Lord’s Resistance Army Insurgency in Agago
district have asked government to extend psycho-social support to speed up
The victims say the war has greatly affected their social lives, even more than
a decade after guns fell silent with majority citing trauma as the biggest
challenges they continue to battle.
Yakobo Okello now 82-years-old, a resident of Odokonyero kal village in Patongo
Sub County in Agago district says he still suffers from anxiety whenever he is
reminded of the LRA war.
Okello was the only survivor from his village when LRA rebels attacked their homes
on January 24th 1991 and murdered 26 people, majority of the church
members of Odokonyero chapel.
Okello recounts that he was rounded up and thrown into a small grass-thatched
hut were several other locals had been put adding that they were beaten
severely before the rebels locked them up and set the hut ablaze.
He says when he regained consciousness and realized the hut was on fire, he
broke open the door and fled for safety but his wife never survived.
Okello says he survived with a deep wound on his head and back injuries which
affected his productivity adding that the memory of the gruesome killings that
happened on the fateful day still haunts him to date.
He appealed to government to set up a psycho-social support centre for victims
of the war from where they can receive counselling.
//cue in: “kwo na obedo…
Cue out:…o omo an.”//
“I have a very difficult life up to now, I have no energy, if government cares,
they should help me because even my wife died during the attack leaving me to
single-handedly care for our children. The government has to help me at this
time even when I am waiting for God’s call,” he says.
Franca Judith Akello, the woman Member of Parliament for Agago district who was
abducted thrice by the LRA rebels during her childhood shares similar plight.
Akello was first abducted while 10 years old and the third time in 1996 while
she was 16 years-old in senior three during an ambush laid by LRA rebels from
Laguti Sub County in Pader district.
She says although she didn’t spend a lot of time in captivity during all her
periods of abduction, the rebels forced her to witness how her fellow child
abductees were forced to murder adults by chopping their bodies with machete.
Akello says she was forced to carry chopped fingers of an old man in her
pockets which she also used as a pillow while sleeping at night for a full
She says the experiences in captivity has left her traumatized and deprived her
opportunity of a childhood education adding that to date she also still feels
sharp back pain as a result of carrying heavy luggage.
//cue in: “my face normally…
Cue out…and so on.”//
Akello says there is an urgent need for government to extend psycho-social
support and broker re-conciliatory processes to facilitate compete healing from
// cue in: “I really think…
Cue out…psychosocial support programmes”//
In Odokonyero kal village, the community members who celebrated the 31st
anniversary since the gruesome murder of their relatives over the weekend have
embarked on constructing a community church.
According to Stephenson Okot, the central organizing committee chairperson for
the memorial prayers, the church project will help the community members to
remember their loved ones and also act as a mode through which they can attain
Although little is known about who masterminded the 1991 murder in odokonyero
village, some residents alleged Brig Kenneth Banya who got amnesty in 2004
commanded the rebels.
Justice Peter Onega, the chairman of Amnesty Commission, in an earlier
interview says the commission has rolled out several initiatives currently that
help to ease lives of formerly abducted persons.
He, however, says limited funds from government have hampered implementation of
such projects that entails aspects of offering counselling and livelihood
Agago district like other areas within Acholi sub-region still has hundreds of
locals who continue to suffer from effects of the two-decade war orchestrated
by elusive LRA warlord Joseph Kony.
Last year alone, more than 15 people committed suicide in the various former
hot spot of the insurgencies in the district, a vice leaders attribute to
In June last year, Cabinet approved the National Transitional Policy with the
objective to address the gaps in the formal justice system in post-conflict
The policy is also aimed at formalizing the use of the traditional justice mechanism
in post-conflict situations and to also address gaps in the current amnesty
More than 1.5 million people are believed to have been displaced into camps
during the war while tens of thousands of people were killed.
Bureau Chief, West Acholi