Uganda: All Together Now

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February 1, 2010: The government is warning its opponents to refrain from exploiting tribal divisions in upcoming elections. The politically correct word in Uganda is “sectarianism,” but instead of referring to religious differences it means tribal differences (though religion can be involved as well). That said, a number of government opponents continually point out that many key government jobs have gone to people who are from west Uganda and have close personal ties to the president.

January 29, 2010: Uganda faces its own domestic election discontent, with rhetoric reflecting some of the same doubts voiced in South Sudan about Sudan's upcoming national elections. Opposition members from the Forum for Democratic Change party (FDC) issued a statement that said they believe the upcoming elections will not be fair. In other words, FDC senior members think the government intends to cheat in the 2011 national elections.&S232;

January 28, 2010: A bipartisan group in the US Congress asked the US administration to fulfill goals outlined in the Northern Uganda Recovery and Lords Resistance Army Disarmament Act of 2009. (Yes, that is the US legislation's name. You can't make this stuff up.) The US law is intended to help Uganda help reintegrate former LRA fighters into Ugandan society and help Uganda's northern areas (the area where the LRA operated) recover from the long war.

January 27, 2010: Somali Islamists killed one Ugandan soldier serving with African Union peacekeeping forces in Somalia. Uganda now has around 3000 soldiers in Somalia.

January 21, 2009: The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a statement that said LRA attacks in Sudan may be considered as “crimes against humanity” because of the “consistent brutality” displayed in the attacks. A recent study by the UN said that between December 2008 and March 2009 the LRA launched at least 27 attacks in southern Sudan. These attacks resulted in the deaths of 81 people, and 18 children were kidnapped. Many more people (no number given) were wounded or raped. Approximately 38,000 Sudanese fled LRA attacks. The study reported the LRA fighters typically operate in “groups of from five to 20.” This report tracks with Ugandan and Congolese reports that the LRA has “splintered” into small groups (following the December 2008 attack on LRA bases in Congo's Garamba National Park). The groups are armed with AK-47s and various “bladed weapons” (eg, machete). Most of the attacks in Sudan were conducted with the bladed weapons. Survivors reported the LRA used firearms on people who tried to flee. Survivors also said the LRA thugs often mutilated the bodies of the dead. Kidnapping (abduction) in sub-Saharan African conflicts often becomes enslavement, with the kidnapped serving as porters (for ammo and food) or even sex slaves. This is another reason several international agencies advocate charging the LRA with war crimes. As it is, the International Criminal Court (ICC) has charged several senior LRA leaders with war crimes.

January 19, 2010: The Government of South Sudan (GOSS) promised to fight the LRA and drive its cadres out of southern Sudan. Sudan's Western Equatoria state has suffered numerous LRA attacks. The GOSS has reinforced its military forces in Western Equatoria state.

 

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