Monday October 24 2011

Army rescues child mothers from rebels

Army rescues child mothers from rebels

The three child mothers at Entebbe Airport on Saturday. PHOTO BY MARTIN SSEBUYIRA  


Three child mothers and six children born in captivity have returned home to begin a new life after they were rescued from LRA captivity.

The three mothers and six children were rescued from Dulu village in the Democratic Republic of Congo by the United Nations operational forces working alongside UPDF troops in DR Congo and Central African Republic, where remnants of the LRA fighters are still operating.

Among those rescued is Ms Eunice Ajok, who was held captive by ‘Brigadier’ Ochan Bunya. She has three children. Also rescued is Ms Beatrice Lalam, a former captive of ‘Major’ Richard Okello. She also has two children. The third, Ms Teddy Acayo, is a former captive of late ‘Brigadier’ Buk Abdema.

“The operations are still on and the pressure we have mounted on the LRA has made them lose ground and run around looking for safe haven,” Capt. Tabaro Kiconco, the UPDF air force spokesman, said upon receiving the returnees at Entebbe Airport on Saturday.

Ms Ajok was abducted in 1996 and taken to South Sudan and later DR Congo in 2007.

She has since had three children with Bunya.

“We have suffered in the bush, sometimes feeding on wild food. Thanks to the army and UN who have helped us return to our families after very many years,” she says.

Ms Lalam was abducted in 2002 and given to Okello.

“We don’t receive assistance from our ‘husbands’. Thanks to the UN for enabling us leave the bush,” she said.
Ms Acayo was abducted in 2003 while she was a Primary Four pupil at Alera Modern Primary School.

She was then handed over to late Abdema who had one child with her. Abdema was killed by the UPDF.

The head of the United Nations Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Slobodan Kotevski, said the LRA insurgency has becoming a regional problem that the US and EU should come up to solve.

“We need combined efforts to get rid of this disastrous negative force,” she said.

US President Barack Obama over a week ago announced that he is sending about 100 US soldiers to Uganda to help regional forces battle the LRA rebels.

Although combat-equipped, the troops would be providing information and advice “to partner nation forces”, Mr Obama wrote in a letter to US Congress.

The UN officially handled over the child mothers to Amnesty Uganda to help in rehabilitation and reunion of the victims with their families.