Members of over 1,115 families who lost their relatives and property when the Joseph Kony led Lord Resistance Army (LRA) rebels reportedly attacked Barlonyo camp in 2004 and brutally killed over 302 people are demanding from government for a colossal compensation of Shs2 trillion.
In their letter dated August 25 which this newspaper has seen, the aggrieved families through their lawyers of Tugume-Byensi & Co. Advocates have written to the chief legal representative (attorney general) Mr Peter Nyombi threatening to take legal action against government if they are not compensated.
The aggrieved families now hold the government liable on grounds that there was no immediate response from the UPDF for over 24 hours to rescue them from the rebel attacks. They allege that the army led by Col Otema Awany only responded to their cries when it was already too late.
“Take notice that Moses Ogwal, Michael Ogwal Achonga, Celestine Ocele Okwir, Moses Mawa, Kennedy Odongo and 1,115 others of Lira district against the attorney general of Uganda in his capacity as the legal representative of the government in the High Court of Uganda at Lira for the loss of property and lives of their relatives as a result of the government’s omission to provide them security as it is duty bound which led to violation of their rights to life, property, privacy and humane treatment,” reads the letter to the AG in part.
According to their letter, the aggrieved families claim that in November 2003 during the climax of the LRA insurgency, the government ordered them to vacate their residential/ancestral homes and go to Barlonyo camp that was located in Ogur Sub, Erute County in Lira District where government assured them of better security.
However, they contend that the government relaxed in its security and that on the fateful night of February 21, 2004, the LRA attacked them with guns, machetes, some them burnt while others raped and maimed. They also allege that 302 of their relatives were killed that night while 510 more of their colleagues died a few days after and were buried in mass graves.
They further claim that when President Museveni visited the area a few days later, he blamed the entire massacre on the laxity of the UPDF before promising for a full investigation into what happened but they claim the same report has never been released to them.