Uganda: Violence Declines


April 9, 2006: The refugee situation in northern Uganda has improved. In 2004, between 30 and 40 civilians were killed each month in and around the northern Ugandan town of Gulu. From October 2005 to the end March 2006, an average of about ten a month were killed. The number of people seeking protection from LRA attacks around Gulu has also dropped dramatically. In 2003 the refugee camps around Gulu housed from 30,000 to 40,000 civilians at any given time. The numbers have dropped to a few hundred. This reflects the drop in LRA attacks, and the LRA's move from south Sudan to the Congo. However, the area is still suffering from food shortages. Poverty is endemic, because the war destroyed farms and wrecked local businesses. The LRA regularly abducted children from towns and refugee camps, to serve as hostages and occasionally serve as soldiers. No one knows how many were abducted, but a commonly accepted figure is 25,000. While many have returned, there has been no full-accounting of the missing.

April 8, 2006: Uganda called for the arrest of LRA rebel holdouts now hiding in the Congo.

April 7, 2006: The Ugandan supreme court ruled that the recent presidential election (which current president Yoweir Museveni won) was legal. Opposition leader and losing presidential candidate Dr Kizza Besigye called the ruling a "perpetual route to perpetual dictatorship." Beisgye also said that he and his supporters in the Forum for Democratic Change were "ruling out" war against Museveni (ie, civil war). An African publication asked Besigye if Uganda was "ripe for war." Beisgye said that he did not want a repetition of the warfare that followed past contested elections (like 1980).

April 6, 2006: The UN reported that the Ugandan military is once again confiscating weapons from Karamajong tribal herders. The Ugandan government established a policy in 2003 to disarm the Karamajong, who were using automatic weapons in cattle raids on other tribes. The Ugandan government also offered a bounty for weapons turned in. In the last year the Karamojong have clashed with several other ethnic groups, including the Pokot, Kenya's Turkana people and the Toposa who live in south Sudan.


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