Landmine survivors to sue government over negligence

Some of the landmine survivors at the People with Disabilities office in Pece division, Gulu District. PHOTO BY CISSY MAKUMBI

What you need to know:

Life after war. The survivors say they cannot provide for their families because most of them lost limbs in the war.

GULU. Landmine survivors in Gulu and Amuru districts have threatened to sue government over failure to protect them during the war as well as the continuous neglect.
There are more than 800 registered landmine survivors in Gulu and Amuru districts, some of whom lost their limbs during the two-decade war in the region. The war waged by lord’s resistance Army rebels left thousands of people dead, 1.5 million people displaced and others in child labour and enslavement.
Speaking to Daily Monitor on Monday, chairperson Gulu landmine survivors, Ms Monica Piloya, said many of them are wallowing in abject poverty without sources of livelihood since they are disabled.
“In 2006, we submitted our forms showing our conditions in order to be helped out, but up to now, nothing has materialised, and we are now opting to go to court,” she said.
Ms Piloya added that many of them cannot make ends meet since they cannot facilitate themselves to move from one place to another and do not have access to medical care. Ms Piloya, who still has splinter on her left hand as a result of the landmine that hit her in Unyama Sub-county in Gulu district in 2002, said even if they are to be given animals, they cannot take care of them.
“If l cannot take care of myself, how can I be able to cater for the animals that the government is now giving out under cattle restocking?” she asked.
Mr Gabriel Oryang, 45, says she cannot fend for her family as she used to in the past. “We badly need a helping hand, some of us have been helping our families through farming, but as we talk now, some of our artificial limbs cannot facilitate us to move,” she said.
The co-ordinator of landmine survivors Gulu and Amuru districts, Mr Stephen Okello, said they are consulting with their lawyer on the legal option saying they do not have any other alternative. Mr Okello added that most survivors are often bruised by worn out artificial limbs, that require medical attention which they can’t afford due to financial constraints.
The Presidential adviser in charge of mobilisation, Ms Santa Oketta, told Daily Monitor last Friday that during their recent meeting at State House, President Museveni said the government had allocated funds to compensate the landmine survivors.
“I urge the victims to be calm and patient before they go to court because the President is already aware of their concerns and they will be addressed,” Ms Oketta said.

The need

Early this month, landmine survivors in Acholi sub-region tasked Ministry of Health to allocate funds to Gulu Regional Referral Hospital to help manufacture artificial limbs.