LRA victims need rehabilitation
Posted Monday, October 7 2013 at 01:00
Last week, former Lord’s Resistance Army captives and victims were intercepted by police at Amolatar District on their way to seek a meeting with President Museveni to discuss the plight of formally abducted children and youth in the northern region.
According to the coordinator of Lango Youth Former LRA Captives and Returnees Association, Mr Philips Ogile, the victims want multi-skills training to be able to cope with life after conflict. He says many rehabilitation centres have been closed, leaving victims with no proper counselling.
Though former Lira Resident District Commissioner Godfrey Aluma says the government and its development partners had resettled and rehabilited all former LRA fighters and abductees, resettlement of war victims should be a continuous process. Carrying out rehabilitation and resettlement for a couple of months and then abandoning it is futile.
As is common knowledge, former LRA captives experienced inhumane episodes while in captivity. For them to change into productive citizens, rehabilitation has to be intense and continuous. We should have a body that monitors their rehabilitation and the progress they are making. If progress is slow or ineffective, then more effective methods must be adopted. The LRA war ended more than five years ago, but for as long as former captives and victims are not fully rehabilitated, then we cannot claim victory.
Rehabilitation and counselling centres, which are reportedly closing, should be given incentives to stay open or new centres opened.
Some Victims report that their houses are still being torched by communities who were also affected by the war. Clearly, there is still a lot of work to be done in educating the community on the aspect of acceptance and reconciliation.
Donating house structures, food and other basic utilities is a good start, but that alone cannot take away the trauma or stigma suffered.
Let us not be too quick to move on. Healing is crucial in post-war recovery. We cannot successfully implement development projects and achieve social transformation if we ignore the aspect of rehabilitating war victims in the northern region.