Government Faulted On LRA Child Soldier Reintegration


buy more about geneva;”>Many of these children, sick widely referred to in Acholi as ‘Dug Paco’ or returnees, search have severally reported huge difficulty in trying to intermingle with other people in society, who look at them as possessing evil spirits known as ‘Cen.’

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National Mufti Sheik Shaban Mubajje pointed out more economic challenges faced by these ex child soldiers during the reintegration process.

“They come back severely haunted by dreadful past experiences and it’s a mistake assuming that children brought up in the bush will easily blend with the rest of society,” he said.

He added: “The PRDP (Peace Recovery and Development Plan) may provide them with hoes and seeds, and some little money but again they are not used to agriculture, implying that they are bound to cause insecurity in their communities.”

Sheik Mubajje was on Thursday speaking at the launch of a program by civil society and national religious leaders geared toward helping these children become part of a peaceful northern Uganda.

Dubbed “National Forum for Child Soldiers Prevention and Reintegration,” the program is a joint initiative by The Inter-Religious Council of Uganda, African Council of Religious Leaders, in conjunction with Golden Foundation.

About 60,000 children are estimated to have been abducted during the 27 year LRA clashes with national armed forces in Northern Uganda, being used to carry looted materials for the rebels to neighboring Sudan on foot. Most of those who failed were killed on the way.

The rebels forced many of them to become child soldiers who later progressed to become rapists, maiming, torturing and killing other people during their raids.

The program is geared towards keeping track of these returnees where they live, helping them with entrepreneurship skills, praying for them, as well as providing counseling services in a bid to restore their shattered souls.

The government’s part according to Sheik Mubajje is to support such initiatives financially.

He said: “We need to look back at the Abuja Declaration in which African leaders agreed to set aside 15 percent of their annual budgets to take care of such children’s needs, and have it fully implemented here.”

In his remarks at the function, Rtd Bishop Zac Niringiye said, “Child recruitment into the Army in Africa is a common practice not only with rebel groups but also national armed forces.”

“In these insurgencies in Luweero triangle and Northern and Western Uganda, our children have completely lost their childhood, and we cannot watch this keep happening,” he added.

He said the program would later on spread to include South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.


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