Friday January 31 2014

Establish independent committee to probe army atrocities - Acholi leaders

By Julius Ocungi


Acholi leaders have called for the establishment of an independent committee to investigate atrocities committed by government soldiers in northern Uganda.

Speaking at a press conference in Gulu Town on Wednesday, the chairperson of the Acholi Parliamentary Group, Mr Reagan Okumu, said investigations conducted by the army, whose members committed atrocities, would be biased.
“Soldiers committed atrocities when Mr Museveni was the commander-in-chief and there is nothing that has changed. How can there be a fair investigation?” Mr Okumu, who is also the Aswa County Member of Parliament, said.

He added: “For us who lost our dear ones in the hands of those soldiers, we feel there is need to institute an independent committee to investigate the crimes committed by the National Resistance Army soldiers in the north rather than rely on the President’s investigation, which is not trustworthy.”
Mr Okumu made the remarks in reference to President Museveni’s speech during celebrations to mark 28th anniversary of the NRM government.
Mr Museveni said during the celebrations held in Mayuge District last Sunday that the army would investigate cases of atrocities committed by soldiers in the early 1990s and punish the culprits.

Mr Okumu called for the establishment of a truth and reconciliation commission.
Retired Bishop of Kitgum Diocese Macleod Baker Ochola, in an interviews with the Daily Monitor: “It is not fair for Mr Museveni to involve himself in investigating army commanders who committed these crimes, knowing very well he was their commander-in-chief and expect his ideas to be welcomed.”
He said the establishment of a truth and reconciliation commission will pave the way for everlasting peace in the region. The war in the north left thousands dead and displaced more than 1.5 million people.