Uganda: Former LRA War Displaced People Still Living in Camps

18 November 2019

Some people, who were displaced by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) insurgency in northern Uganda, are still living in internally displaced people's camps (IDPs) 13 years after the war ended.

For instance, Pabbo IDP camp is still home to 40 families. Daily Monitor visited the former camp in Pabbo Sub-county, Amuru District, last week where we interacted with the families.

Ms Amony Odiya, 70, one of the IDPs, narrated how her family members denied her access to her late parents' home in Palwog Village, also in Pabbo Sub-county.

"I have nowhere to go. I lost my two children during the war and my niece and nephew denied me access to my ancestral land back home," Ms Amony, who said she depends on handouts from well-wishers, said.

"Some years back, I would move to Pabbo Trading Centre and beg for what to eat but I have since developed health complications and I cannot move long distances,' she added.

Pabbo IDP camp was formed in 1996 as the residents converged in the area for safety after being targeted by LRA rebels on allegations that they were not supportive of the insurgency.

According to Mr Otim Orach, a former camp commandant, the households still in the camp have nowhere to return.

"Each household has between five and 10 members who are still here. All have been denied access to land by their relatives. Some of them are living with HIV/Aids while others are orphans whose aunties and uncles told them never to return home since they have no land there," he said.

The Pabbo Sub-county chairperson, Mr Christopher Odongkara, said they sometimes provide the families with food such as posho and beans. He added that on other occasions, the families move out of the camps to fend for themselves.

Mr Odongkara said some families have been resettled in their homes following mediation with their relatives who had earlier denied them access to land.

"We as leaders feel concerned that our people even after the war are still living under deplorable conditions. We have held several mediations, some have been successful while others are still in the pipeline," Mr Odongkara said.

He added that others just feel comfortable staying in camps. "The follow-ups that we make at times reveals that some do not want to be in villages any more," he said.

Other former IDP camps include Atiak and Amuru where those who were not able to return home due to land wrangles opted to acquire land somewhere else and settle.

In former Amuru IDP, now town council, many people resettled in their homes and for those who found land conflicts, religious and clan leaders mediated, according to the district chairperson, Mr Michael Lakony.

"There are other isolated cases but we are managing as a district by engaging the conflicting families and clans. It's always land; nothing else," Mr Lakony said.

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