Legislators have appealed to government to develop a specific programme to rehabilitate and support former war abductees in war affected areas around the country.
This arose during debate on a motion moved by Gulu Municipality Hon. Lyandro Komakech urging the government to support former female abductees and children born in captivity during the Lord’s Resistance Army insurgency.
He said that many of the former abductees require specialised intervention because they suffered tremendous psychological and physical torture like being forced to marry some of the LRA combatants while in captivity.
“These women were taken as girls from schools and villages and sexually abused while in captivity in the end mothering children. These people have a weak livelihood and they cannot afford to educate their own children,” Komakech said.
Komakech added that the government programmes like the Northern Uganda Social Action Fund (NUSAF) and Peace, Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP) should be restructured and tailored to support this category of victims.
“The government needs to identify and profile these people so that they can be planned for and their issues handled accordingly,” he said.
Hon. Santa Alum (UPC, Oyam District) said the insurgency in Northern Uganda caused untold suffering to the people especially those who were abducted.
“The women and children who were in captivity are suffering from a lot of stigma and fear. They have been chased away by their families and become social rejects,” she said.
Alum added that the government needs to set up a programme to support these victims to easily resettle into the community and equip them with skills that can assist them in financial emancipation.
Hon Catherine Lamwaka (NRM, Omoro District) said that the current programmes being run in the North like PRDP and NUSAF mainly target those people who already have a foundation of their own in place.
“These programs running in Northern Uganda focus on people settled in societies and do not provide assistance to these former abductees who have come back to the community and have no family to go to or place to stay,” she said.
Hon. William Nzoghu (FDC, Busongora North) said that the government should create and extend programmes for formerly abducted people to areas around the country that have been affected by any form of insurgence.
“The former abductees in these areas especially in Western Uganda which were affected by Allied Democratic Forces insurgency and share the symptoms of war with the North should also benefit from this proposed intervention,” he said.
The Minister of State for Finance, Hon. David Bahati agreed to the motion saying support should be provided to former abductees around the country in a phased manner starting with Northern Uganda and moving to other parts of the country.