Uganda: July 17, 2002


Displaced civilians has always been a factor in warfare. LRA raids in northern Uganda have started a minor panic amongst the population. Medical Superintendent Dr. C.P. Opira had to call an emergency meeting on 15 July to handle the growing number of civilian refugees at the Lacor Hospital in Gulu. The headcount had jumped from 553 on 2 July to 27,520 as of 14 July. Administrator A.K. Banya said the hospital could handle up to 20,000 displaced people, if there were adequate tents and pit latrines.

An LRA unit also attacked Kati-Kati village (360km north of Kampala) in Gulu's Acholi district on 12 July. After ordering the villagers to abandon the area, the LRA set fire to forty-some huts and abducted 20 youths. 

The LRA raids are also hurting the latest attempts to revive Uganda's beleaguered tourism industry. The Ugandan tourist board had been hoping for a 20 percent increase in tourist numbers this year, up from 2001's 200,000 visitors. In late June, the LRA killed seven game rangers and abducted another 15 in the Murchison Falls national park (a major tourist destination famed for its elephants, hippos, crocodiles and birds).

Events like this inspired the Kampala newspaper "The Monitor" to run a 16 July editorial calling for the government to hire foreign military experts (aka "mercenaries"). The journalists believed that the government should take extreme measures to kill Kony and bring to an end to the untold suffering Ugandans have had to endure. - Adam Geibel


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