This week a policeman "spokes person of LRA" Brig. Kolo, was warmly welcomed back as a hero by the uganda state. The Ex Policeman killed thousands of ugandans mostly children and defenceless women in cold blood.
The uganda killers have promised the ex-copper a glory life that will be paid by taxpayers and the mighty donor community. This sad drama has left many ugandans speechless!
War criminals still at large:
Uganda Child abusers
Don’t insult army, Nyakairima tells Fr Carlos
Feb 19, 2005
GULU - The Army Commander, Lt. Gen. Aronda Nyakairima, has said Fr. Carlos Rodriguez, an Italian priest, will be arrested if he does not stop a smear campaign against the UPDF.
Rodriguez, in a stinging article published in one of the papers alleged that the Uganda army was recruiting children.
He claimed that he interviewed 15 gun-totting soldiers at Palango Detach in Pader district and all of them, recruited a year ago, said they were between 15 and 17 years.
"My conclusion from this brief survey, is that in Uganda, there are indeed child soldiers," wrote Fr Carlos.
The article has enraged the army and set the man of God on a collision course with the institution.
Addressing journalists in Gulu on Thursday, Nyakairima said the reported interview by Fr Carlos was illegal since he did not get clearance from the army. The press conference was organised to introduce former LRA Political Commissar and Spokesman, Mr Sam Kolo who surrendered to the UPDF in Gulu town on Wednesday afternoon.
"If Fr. Carlos is found interviewing soldiers at any barracks without permission, he should be arrested", Nyakairima said.
He said under-age soldiers in service could have lied about their age during recruitment or were not properly scrutinised by the Local Councils.
He said when discovered, such people are usually discharged and sent to school for further studies so that they develop their full potential.
"We do not have children in the army. Fr. Carlos should stop claiming that the UPDF has under-age soldiers," Nyakairima said.
But Fr. Carlos said he would not be intimidated at all because he believes what he authored is genuine.
"It (the army threat) is not necessary. The question is if this (presence of child soldiers) is true. I am convinced about what I wrote after talking to 15 soldiers and stand by the article ", he told The Monitor by telephone.
The article stated that for the government and UPDF to react by lamenting about individuals who want to tarnish the image of the army was just dodging the issue (of child soldiers)".
Fr. Carlos is a member of the Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative and has had uncomfortable turns with the army over his outstanding criticism of its military push to end the LRA rebellion in northern Uganda.
He is now in Pader where he runs a religious-based organisation supporting victims of the war.
Hefty LRA surrender package tolerable but...
Feb 20, 2005
On February 16, LRA's chief spokesman Sam Kolo Otto, in the company of his two wives and an armed escort surrendered to the UPDF in Gulu. In fact, reports indicate that the army rescued Kolo after an attempt on his life by former colleague Vincent Otti. There seems to be debate over the means and cause of his decision to desert the Lord's Resistance Army. Was it the guns that forced him out or was it a personal decision?
Whatever the circumstances of his emergence from rebellion, the fact that he is the highest-ranking LRA officer to come out of the bush renders his surrender cause for celebration. Just how far that celebration should stretch is a matter for debate. Maybe we should ask the people of northern Uganda whether they want to hear that within a few hours of surrendering, the perpetrator of the 18-year-old brutal war is already enjoying VIP treatment – replete with escorts, a gold wrist watch, an executive suite in Acholi Inn and a special diet of sausages.
The army spokesman was certainly not shy to talk about Kolo's posh lifestyle on Kfm's Tonight with Andrew Mwenda Live talk show. The army commander was even quoted saying that the former rebel was free to choose whether to join the UPDF or not.
Just the day before Kolo's surrender, government dished out Shs400 million to three high profile LRA returnees – Brig. Kenneth Banya, Lt. Col. Charles Okwonya and Capt. Apira – to start income-generating projects.
Too many reports and too many voices have come out to tell us just how these former rebels are living and what sort of benefits they have received, upon abandoning rebellion. That is all very well. We appreciate that convincing tough guerrillas out of rebellion requires some sort of incentive. However, when we start to consider the immediate incorporation into the army of figures that represent the suffering of a whole region and when the government takes on an almost bragging tone in referring to what they have done for these ex-LRA rebels, the whole scheme turns ironical.
What kind of message are we sending out to the people who haven't known home for 18 years; people who have lost their loved ones in a senseless war. Wouldn't it appear like we are glorifying the villains who brought about their suffering?
© 2005 The Monitor Publications.