In-depth: Life in northern Uganda
UGANDA: Testimonies - Baker Ochola
A young boy poses for a photo showing his mutilated limbs, Kitgum District, northern Uganda, 19 May 2007. Alfred was mutilated during an attack in his village by LRA rebels in 2004
NAIROBI, 5 January 2004 (IRIN) -
Baker Ochola, retired bishop of Kitgum, on the effects of insecurity on individuals and the community.
For a long time now, our people have been living in a state of helplessness. Children are taken away from them. Somebody is taking away your child and you can't do anything. That sense of helplessness has had a great impact on our people.
People also have a lot of fear for the future. They don't know what tomorrow holds for them. Nobody can see the end of this conflict. Rebels continue with the ambushes, abductions, killings and looting. When will this end? The worst human rights violations against children are being committed here in northern Uganda and the international community is nowhere to be seen. The kind of abuses against children here could never be allowed anywhere in the Western world. Our people are living in a state of fear and anxiety.
This means we are destroying the Acholi society from the roots. A child who is threatened is supposed to run to its mother. But now, children are running away from home to be safe from abduction. This means we are cultivating a new culture. Children no longer have an identity. A child only knows the culture of the gun and difficulty. Who is going to turn this situation around?