LRA survivors cry out to government, want specialised operations

Victims. Women and children talk about the effects of the LRA war in Lira District in November 2017. Survivors of the LRA war in northern Uganda, who suffered severe body injuries, want government to pay for their specialised operations. PHOTO BY RACHEL MABALA

What you need to know:

  • Claim. Some LRA war survivors say they have never received treatment on injuries sustained.

Survivors of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) war, who suffered severe body injuries, have appealed to government to facilitate their recovery.

The insurgence in northern Uganda that took more than 20 years left many people crippled and maimed.
One of such victims is Ms Florence Adok, 36, a resident of Kanyagoga B, Bardege Division in Gulu Municipality whose arm and head got damaged in 1996.

Ms Adok was abducted by the LRA at the age of 13, from Pabbo Sub-county, present-day Amuru District, in 1995.
She says she sustained the injuries when Uganda People’s Defence Force soldiers attacked a rebel base in one of the woodlands in South Sudan where they had gone to collect firewood.

Upon return from captivity in 2002, World Vision facilitated their recovery process and took her to St Mary’s Hospital Lacor for treatment.
It was at Lacor Hospital in the same year that the doctors recommended that she is flown to India for an operation.

Ms Adok requires Shs100m to undergo the operation. “They feared to have me operated here saying I would lose my sight and develop ear complications,” she says.
The mother of four has acquired skills in tailoring to sustain her family.
Ms Brenda Angom, who shares a similar plight, says many of them have never received treatment for the injuries sustained.

Ms Angom had her left arm damaged and she has braved the pain for the last 16 years.
She was injured in 2003, in Gulu District on River Aswa and was referred to Mulago hospital.
“Government should invest in better healthcare. They have left us at the hands of non-governmental organisations,” Ms Angom says.

Mr Francis Opio, a team leader at Foundation for Justice and Development Initiatives, says Civil Society Organisations cannot do much since they are financially constrained.

In 2009, government registered civilians, who were physically injured in the two-decade insurgency, to avail support in terms of treatment, but nothing has since materialised.
At least 6,000 people were registered in Acholi and Lango sub-regions.

In 2010, government again promised to have specialists in government hospitals across the war-affected region.
Mr Paul Ajuk, a senior administrator at Gulu Regional Referral Hospital, says they carry out surgeries and other operations.

“We have some specialists in place at the facility. Refer them here so that they are examined by medical officers,’’ Mr Ajuk says.

The Resident District Commissioner Gulu, Maj Santos Okot Lapolo, says those with injuries should go to government hospitals to have the fragments removed.