Uganda Gulu Walk Update

September 29, 2006 at 9:49 am (Africa, Missions, My ramblings)

FYI- I had to cancel my participation in this 5 mile walk. You can still click here to make a financial contribution though. Here is some information about Uganda. Please pray and ask the Lord how He would want you to help with the horrific situation these innocent children are going through.

For the last 20 years, the people of northern Uganda have been caught in a brutal war between the Government of Uganda and the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). The LRA have terrorized the local population as a means to challenge the government and sustain itself. The LRA has abducted over 30,000 children to be used as soldiers and sex slaves. Tens of thousands have been wounded, maimed and killed in LRA attacks. The LRA has no support from the local population; however, northerners also feel excluded from the central government. Since the current regime came to power in 1986, northerners have been marginalized in political and economic processes. Further, the government plan in 1996 to confine people to “protected villages” has collapsed into a displacement nightmare with 1.7 million people displaced in horrid conditions. One thousand people die weekly in these camps: deaths that northerners attribute to government’s neglect and failure to protect them.
Children are lucrative resources for the LRA rebels. The atrocities committed against these children are impossible to imagine: in captivity children as young as seven years old are tortured, beaten and raped. They are then forced to become rebel soldiers, sexual slaves, porters and labourers. Some are forced to kill, maim, beat or abduct innocent victims, including family members and neighbours, or to look on as these abuses are committed. Girls are used as domestic servants or forced into sexual slavery as LRA commanders’ ‘wives’. They are subject to rape, unwanted pregnancy and the risk of infection, including HIV/AIDS. Child abduction is clearly a major security concern for northern Uganda. Desperately afraid of abduction, vulnerable children as young as four years old will walk from their homes or displacement camp to a large urban centre every night. These ‘night commuters’ travel as far as 20km on a daily basis without any adult supervision subjecting them to a wide range of violence. They gather in schools, hospitals, district offices and NGO compounds – wherever they believe they can spend the night in safety. They settle to sleep in the open, where they are often abused and exploited. This temporary night displacement has destroyed family and cultural roles, and has deprived an entire generation of children from a primary education. At the peak of the conflict, the UN estimated the number of night commuters in Gulu, Pader and Kitgum districts to be 40,000.
To learn more or give a donation, click here.

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