The Ugandan House of Bishops last week issued a statement calling for
the immediate end to violence in Northern Uganda after the Most Revd
Henry Orombi, the Archbishop of Uganda, led the bishops on a tour of the
region to witness the situation at first hand.
The statement said that children were being forced to fight in the
18-year-old insurgency for the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and "were
dying in large numbers." They added that the rebellion had claimed
thousands of lives, displaced a million people and spread fear
throughout the region. The LRA is a quasi-religious rebel group that
insists it wants Uganda to be governed solely by the Ten Commandments.
It is led by Joseph Kony who claims to have spiritual powers.
Referring to recent violence in Barlonyo camp, in which 200 people were
reportedly killed, the bishops' statement said that the government of
Uganda and the LRA had to recommit themselves to dialogue and
reconciliation. They called on the Ugandan government to protect
civilians living in camps and in conflict-hit areas.
The bishops also visited Pabbo camp in Gulu district and appealed for
urgent humanitarian support from the international community saying that
the displaced people lacked basic means to support their livelihoods.
"We shall also mobilise the congregations of the Church of Uganda to
support and work with leaders in the affected areas, and the government
and the international community to find a lasting solution to the
conflict," the bishops said.
The 15 bishops were accompanied by the General Secretary of the Uganda
Joint Christian Council (UJCC), staff of the Provincial Office and
representatives from the Church Missionary Society (CMS) and the Uganda