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  • Uganda alleges world hate campaign against Museveni

    Virunga Mountains

    African War Criminal


    Kampala, Uganda, 04/03 - Uganda has alleged that there was an organised international hate campaign against President Yoweri Museveni and his ruling National Resistance Movement who have ruled the East Africa country for 19 years.

    Government spokesman and Information Minister James Nsaba Buturo pointed his accusing finger at the media, saying that "there is a growing bad international press against President Museveni orchestrated and organised by sections of the international community with local collaborators aimed at bringing him down."

    "This campaign is designed to whip up resentment against the leadership of President Museveni," he said.

    Visibly dismayed, Buturo retorted that "it should be realised that the president enjoys massive countrywide support and that his vision for Uganda could transform the country."

    Buturo targeted the New York based Human Rights Watch and international and local journalists as the promoters of the hate campaign.

    "Neither HRW nor anyone else has the moral authority to teach Uganda how to fight HIV/AIDS. Our record in fighting HIV/AIDS is well known to the whole world, except the HRW," Buturo told a weekly news conference here.

    "The hate campaign against Museveni and the NRM started in 2003 when the government supported a proposal to lift presidential term limits," he said.

    Dutch Minister for Development Corporation, Agnes van Ardenne, said she had cautioned Museveni against the third term during her visit to Kampala in February.

    Last week the US government joined a growing list of donors and international figures criticising Museveni`s ongoing campaigns countrywide to lift the presidential term limits so he could remain in power.

    In its 2004/2005 report on the US support for human rights around the world, the US State Department warned that "democratisation could suffer a setback if the NRM succeeds in removing presidential term limits from the constitution."

    The Department had earlier criticised the country`s human rights record, accusing security agencies of carrying out torture and illegal detentions.

    A British Minister recently questioned Uganda`s democratisation process while Irish rock star and anti-poverty campaigner Bob Geldof criticised Museveni for aiming to rule for life.

    The comments sparked off two pro- and anti-third term demonstrations in Kampala last week.

    Free Uganda
  • Yoweri Museveni and International Mafia

    Virunga Mountains

    This a part 1 investigation of Yoweri Museveni's "dark Heart"!

    Jeffrey Steinberg:

    Former President George Bush gave an interview to {Parade} magazine, in which he stated: ``I don’t want to be at the head table anymore. I care about being a good citizen. I don't join boards of directors, and I don't go into business deals. I've had every Opportunity to join in putting a petrochemical plant in Kuwait, a chance to make money. I haven't done it. The way I make a living is giving speeches. Get paid a lot of money for giving a speech. No conflict of interest.'' This statement was an outright lie; a lie that Sir George Bush arranged to appear in the pages of a weekly newspaper insert that reaches millions of households in every part of the United States. George Bush does, indeed, have a very important foreign corporate affiliation: In May 1995, the Canada-based Barrick Gold Corp. created an international advisory board around the personal leadership of Bush, and Bush was designated ``honorary senior adviser'' to that board--a legal fiction to disguise the former President's active role as chief business developer for the company. What, then, is Barrick Gold Corp.?

    - The destruction of Africa -

    It is understandable that Bush did not wish to advertise his ties to Barrick. The company is not only an important corporate element of the London-cantered Club of the Isles and the British global raw materials cartel—a British link that might prove embarrassing to Sir George, at a point when Anglo-American relations remain at a low point, and when British propaganda organs are leading an all-out assault upon the U.S. Presidency. But, Barrick, along with the South Africa-based Anglo American Corp., is engaged in a strategic metals grab in Central Africa, which is being abetted by the greatest genocide per capita In modern times. From April 1993, when Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni, on behalf of London, launched the genocide of the Hutu majority in Rwanda, through to the ongoing invasion by the same Museveni-led forces in eastern Zaire, Central Africa and the Horn of Africa have been turned into a killing field. Local, British-sponsored ``counter gangs'' have been unleashed to depopulate a region that possesses the world's richest strain of precious metal deposits, while a string of Club of the Isles metals cartels, including Barrick, moves in for the kill.

    As you will read below, the invasion of eastern Zaire, by the combined armies of Rwanda and Uganda, which began in September 1996, coincided with the Barrick and Anglo American metal grabs in the very same area. The net result of the invasion, and the simultaneous launching of an ``internal'' rebellion by long-time British provocateur Laurent Kabila, was the depopulating of a string of camps that were holding Rwandan Hutu refugees. Thousands of those refugees were killed in the fighting between the British-backed invaders and French-supported Hutu guerrillas; at least another quarter of a million refugees were driven into the wilderness, to face death by disease and starvation; and another half a million fled back across the border into Rwanda, to face likely extermination at the hands of the Tutsi. {EIR} first exposed this policy of genocide on Aug. 19. 1994, in a cover story titled ``The British Hand
    Behind the Horror in Rwanda.'' Then, on Oct. 28, 1994, in a {Special Report} titled ``The Coming Fall of the House of Windsor,'' we revealed the existence of the secretive Club of the Isles, the House of Windsor-led oligarchic institution cantered upon a tightly knit Alliance of European princely families, London-based financial and insurance houses, and food and raw materials cartels. The Club of the Isles in turn deploys the resources of the global environmentalist movement, headed by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF, formerly the World Wildlife Fund), and its funding arm, the 1001 Club, as a Propaganda and paramilitary arm of their one-world ``New Dark Age'' agenda. Under the WWF umbrella, the British Crown has built up a string of strategically located nature preserves and national parks, which serve as staging grounds for cross-border incursions, as training grounds for terrorist gangs, and as command posts for British ``former'' SAS commandos to direct the killings in every part of sub-Saharan Africa. As we document below, in joining the advisory board to Barrick Gold, and throwing his political clout into facilitating Barrick's worldwide strategic metals grab, George Bush, has cast his lot with a collection of very unsavoury characters, including Barrick's chairman, Peter Munk, and with the entire Canadian Bronfman gang. Barrick and the South African Oppenheimer family's Anglo American Corp. are at the cutting edge of a Club of the Isles drive to recolonize a severely depopulated African continent, by busting up the post-colonial nation-states, beginning with Zaire; and then creating privately owned micro-states, in which what is left of the indigenous population is impressed into slavery. The novelist Joseph Conrad described these conditions graphically in his 1899 book {Heart of Darkness}. Unless
    the oligarchy is stopped, Bush and his friends intend to re impose those conditions.


    British-backed the mining companies are stealing Zaire's patrimony

    by Richard Freeman

    When the forces of Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni overran eastern Zaire in October 1996, under the guidance of Baroness Lynda Chalker, the head of Britain's Overseas Development Office, this military phase was the culmination of an invasion of Zaire which had been ongoing for the past three years: the theft of Zaire's wealth and patrimony. Zaire, as a nation, is being dismembered. Its various energy-rich provinces, including Shaba and Kivu, are being encouraged to form separate micro-states. Already, because of the economic dislocation
    forced on Zaire over the past seven years, most of the provinces act semi-autonomously from the central government; for example, Shaba province issues its own currency. In the following report, we document some of the most important features of this genocidal looting operation.
    On Sept. 21, 1996, a tiny Toronto, Canada-based raw materials company, Banro Resources Corp., obtained the concession to mine gold in Zaire's central-east province of Kivu. The rich concession starts in the town of Bukavu, and extends southward. Bukavu was the site of one of the major Rwandan refugee camps in Zaire, which was teeming with half-starved women and children. Banro needed this site cleared of people to begin its mining operations; the clearing started with Uganda's invasion of Zaire in mid-October. Banro appears to be a cut-out for the Anglo American Corporation, which is the world's biggest mining company, and a key cog in the international oligarchy's Club of the Isles raw materials cartel. In August 1996, Toronto-based Barrick Gold obtained a gold mining concession in Zaire's northeast province, Haut
    Zaire, which reportedly covers 83,000 square kilometres. The Hollinger Corp.-allied Barrick is chaired by Peter Munk, and its strategy is shaped by the international intelligence network of former U.S. President George Bush, who is honorary senior adviser to its international
    advisory board. Also during 1996, the tiny Vancouver-based raw materials company Consolidated Eurocan, headed by international wheeler-dealer Adolf Lundin, began work on
    exploiting the Tenke-Fungurume copper-cobalt mines in Zaire's southernmost Shaba province, near the border with Zambia, which has the richest cobalt reserves in the world. Cobalt is a strategic metal, crucial in forming alloys with steel and other metals, giving them great strength and heat resistance. Some 40% of cobalt's use is in aircraft gas turbine engines, and 10% is in magnetic alloys. Consolidated Eurocan is purchasing the mining property in phases, for a quarter of a billion dollars, which is a ``song,'' for a property that could yield many tens
    of billions of dollars in revenues. Consolidated Eurocan is in a joint venture in this deal with Anglo American. Simultaneously, over the past 18 months, the American-based, Canadian-run American Mineral Fields, of former DeBeers Diamond executive Jean-Raymond Boulle, has obtained the Kipushi zinc mines in Shaba province, one of the largest sources of zinc in the world; the Vancouver- and Cayman Islands-based Panorama International has obtained significant cobalt holdings in Shaba province; and, Zaire's diamond company, MIBA (Zaire is one of the three largest diamond producers in the world), has been thrown open to bidding and takeover by foreign firms.

    - The `Second Great Scramble' -

    When Maj. Gen. Paul Kagame, the Rwandan defence minister, recently called for a new Berlin Conference to set new borders for African states--referring to the 1884-85 Berlin Conference of the imperialist powers which ratified the national borders that are now in effect in Africa--he had in mind the fragmentation of Zaire into mini-states as a paradigm for all of Africa. The first Berlin Conference occurred during what was called the ``Great Scramble,'' during the 1880s and 1890s. Imperialist Britain and France led the way, and were joined by Belgium, Italy, and Germany, in grabbing up the raw material wealth of Africa. The Berlin Conference codified the Congo, which included present-day Zaire, as the personal property of Belgium's King Leopold II.
    Leopold II worked the Congo like a plantation, with brutal methods. For example, Congolese Africans who did not meet their production quotas had their arms amputated. This time around, the British are making a move to push the Belgians and French entirely out of Central
    Africa, and, at the same time, they don't want to have the expense of running a nation-state, an institution that they don't like anyway. Rather, they deploy the companies of their global raw materials cartel to buy up sections of a country. They keep the people needed to run the mining
    and related enterprises alive at subsistence levels, and the rest of the population is treated as useless eaters, left to starve or be butchered. Driving the British actions this time, is another
    ``Great Scramble.'' The international financier oligarchy, grouped around the House of Windsor, knows that the world financial bubble--which they themselves created--cannot be sustained, and will burst. They are getting out of paper financial instruments and into hard commodities: precious metals, such as gold; strategic metals, such as cobalt and tantalum; base metals, such as copper and zinc; energy supplies; and increasingly scarce food supplies. They want to own the physical assets, or, better still, own the mine production facility for these assets. As the price of the hard commodity asset goes up, the oligarchy makes super-profits. At the same time, they have finger-tip control over the minerals, food stuffs, and so on upon which human life depends. They plan to exercise a food- and raw materials-control dictatorship
    in a post-collapse world. The international oligarchy already owns extensive raw materials holdings. But they now seek to obtain those holdings in Africa, Ibero-America, and Asia, which they don't control. Mineral-rich Zaire is in their target sights. Zaire's mineral belt is located in the eastern and southern part of the country (see {{Figure 1}}). It is a crystalline belt that runs alongside the Great Rift, a geological fault running from the Jordan River Valley in the Middle East, south through the Gulf of Aqaba, through Central Africa (where Zaire is located), down to southern Africa.

    - IMF, World Bank, financiers cut off credit -

    Most of Zaire's raw materials holdings are owned by the state, and President Mobutu Sese Seko has resisted selling them to foreigners. A seven-year campaign, including a total credit and aid cut-off of Zaire, has been waged to force Mobutu to give in. At the centre of the campaign has been the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the World Bank, and the international banks, which are run by the same oligarchic forces that run the global raw materials cartel. On June 29, 1960, Zaire obtained its independence from Belgium, although, as with many African countries, it was only a partial independence, because the countries were kept in economic backwardness. In the case of Zaire, in 1961, its first elected President, Patrice Lumumba, was assassinated. Mobutu, who had been an Army general, was made President in 1965. In 1967, he declared that all the minerals in Zaire's subsoil belonged to Zaire, and nationalized the foreign mining holdings, which meant principally Belgium's two all-powerful companies, Union Miniere and Societe Generale. According to one source, ``The Belgians were so angry at Zaire that they took with them all their records and plans needed to mine.'' Despite difficulties, and while never enjoying true economic developments that would have brought a decent standard of living to Zaire's now 40 million people, Zaire nonetheless was able to harness and mine some of its immense raw materials wealth. A sample of what Zaire accomplished can be gleaned from the report of the {Minerals Yearbook}, published by the Bureau of the Mines of the U.S. Department of Interior (Vol. III). In 1988, among the world's raw materials mining countries, Zaire held the following rank, for the following commodities:

    Cobalt -- world's largest producer and exporter Diamonds -- 2nd in the world Copper -- 5th in the world Tin -- 12th in the world Zinc -- 20th in the world

    Zaire also mined other commodities, such as barite, boron, magnesium, and gold. Because of historical ties, Zaire shipped a good amount of these goods to Belgium. In the 1960s, in order to run its mining operations, Zaire created the state-owned La Generale des Carrieres et des Mines du Zaire, which is known by its acronym, Gecamines. One of its other important state owned companies was based in Kivu province, the Societe Miniere et Industrielle de Kivu, known by its acronym Sominki. When Belgium granted Zaire independence, it bequeathed to Zaire about $5 billion in debt, which Belgium had run up. By the late 1980s, Zaire's debt stood at about $8 billion--a large debt for a small economy based on raw materials and food, but no manufacturing. Zaire got further and further behind on its debt payments, and finally defaulted on most of it in the early 1990s. This was the excuse that the banks wanted. They demanded that Zaire pay the debt, but also, joined by the World Bank and others, demanded that Zaire ``democratize'' its government and, especially, privatize its state-owned raw materials mining concerns. Privatization had three components: slashing the social services provided to miners by law, laying off half the workforce at Gecamines, and selling more than half of the different properties of Gecamines and Sominki to foreign investors. Secessionist movements were started in Shaba province; the net effect would be to dismantle the Zairean state.

    The banks organized an international credit cut-off, meaning that Zaire could not get the money to purchase mining machinery, spare parts, and other essential imports. The West had always denied Zaire technology transfer, as long as the raw materials wealth was primarily in Zairean hands. Around 1993, the World Bank and IMF declared a credit cut-off to Zaire. A senior source at the U.S. Geological Survey reported on Nov. 27, 1996, that the World Bank and its loan guarantee agency, the Multi-Lateral Investment Guarantee Corporation (MIGA), recommended to Zaire that it would not get new money until it agreed to ``modernize,'' that is, privatize, its mining operations, by selling off sections of state holdings. At about the same time, the governments of Belgium, France, and the United States cut off all official government aid to Zaire. Currency warfare was unleashed in 1990, and has continued to this day. At one point, the Zairean currency, the zaire, depreciated from a few new zaires to the dollar, to 3,250 to the dollar. This devaluation meant that Zaire earned almost nothing for its foreign exports. As the U.S. Geological Survey source explained, ``The economy went down the tubes. Mining production today is 10% of what it was in the late 1980s. Because of the economic dislocation, most of the provinces are operating on their own.'' Indeed, between 1987 and 1993, cobalt production fell 82%, and copper production fell 90%. As a result, exports of minerals and metals, which accounted for three-quarters of Zaire's foreign exchange earnings, dried up.

    Zaire's ability to service the debt, should it choose to do so, disappeared. The conditions of life for the population worsened, in a country in which living conditions were already bad. In 1990, only 39% of Zaireans had access to safe drinking water. Infrastructure is virtually nonexistent. In 1994, Zaire's infant mortality rate was 111 deaths per 1,000 live births, i.e., an 11% infant death rate, more than 13 times that in the United States. In 1992, the last year for which figures were available, 335,000 Zairean children under the age of five died. In 1994, life expectancy in Zaire was 53 years, lower than in 1990. Under this assault, President Mobutu opened the door to privatizing Zaire's patrimony, although still not at a rate fast enough to satisfy the World Bank vultures.

    - The corporate invasion -

    At the heart of the invasion of Zaire's mining properties, are the Canadian mining companies and the Oppenheimer family-run Anglo American Corp., which often takes the Canadian companies under its wing in joint ventures. The Canadian mining companies started an invasion of Zaire in 1994, which reached a flood tide in 1996. This was the opening shot of the ``Second Great Scramble.'' The Canadian mining companies represent forward beachheads for the Commonwealth-cantered British Empire (see {EIR Special Report,} May 24, 1996, ``The Sun Never Sets on the New British Empire''). Behind the companies, lurks the shadowy presence of the Oppenheimer family's Anglo American Corp., the linchpin of the Club of the Isles' raw materials cartelization strategy. We look at three examples. First, the takeover of Sominki, in Kivu province, by Toronto-based Banro Resource Corp. Zaire has three eastern provinces: Haut Zaire, in the northeast; Kivu, in the centre-east; and Shaba (formerly Katanga), in the southeast. Kivu province is second in richness of raw materials, after Shaba. The leading mining concern in Kivu is the Societe Miniere et Industrielle de Kivu, or Sominki. Sominki was formed in 1976 as an amalgamation of nine companies that had been operating in Kivu province since the early 1900s. It operates 47 mining concessions, encompassing an area of 10,271 square kilometres. In 1996, Banro Corp. of Toronto bought 36% of Sominki, raising some of its money for the purchase by floating shares in Singapore. Banro was previously a small financial institution, with little apparent aptitude for mining.

    The impression is that it was reconfigured as a company for the special purpose of this purchase, perhaps acting as a front for someone. (Who that someone is, will become clear.) Another large chunk of Sominki was bought by the Belgium-based company Mines D'or du Zaire, or MDDZ. Owning 60% of MDDZ is Cluff Mining Co. of London, and controlling 65% of Cluff is Anglo American Corp., the world's largest mining company and a key component of the Club of the Isles. On Sept. 21, 1996, Banro and MDDZ announced their merger, with Banro selling its shares to MDDZ. The new Banro-MDDZ company consolidated a 72% stake in Sominki, while the government of Zaire holds 28%. The Banro-MDDZ entity has announced that it plans to acquire that 28% from the government. The overall enterprise is essentially a vehicle for Anglo American. According to various Banro corporate reports and news releases, Banro was anxious to get its mining operations started as quickly as possible. However, the Sominki mining zone that Banro acquired started in the town of Bukavu, the centre for the major camp for Rwandan refugees who had fled to Zaire, with nearly a million people.

    To get mining started, the entire zone would require clearing. Suddenly, as Uganda launched its invasion of eastern Zaire, near Bukavu, in mid-October, there was firing on the Bukavu refugee camp, supposedly against ``Hutu rebels'' who were hiding there. The military attack on the camp forced hundreds of thousands of refugees to flee Kivu province, back to Rwanda. But, who did the firing? While a clear answer is not forthcoming, it may have involved portions of the newly acquired Sominki apparatus itself. For, in acquiring Sominki, Banro did not just acquire a company; it acquired the effective governmental structure of the entire Kivu province. According to a Banro corporate press release, ``Sominki owns an extensive infrastructure which includes repair shops, machine shops, electrical shops and a large fleet of Land Rover vehicles. In addition, it operates six hydroelectric sites, a number of air strips, and 1,000 kilometres of roads. Sominki is virtually self-sufficient. The company has about 5,000 employees.'' The release added, ``In fact, Sominki is {the de facto government providing all the essential services for the Kivu Province}'' (emphasis added).

    Banro/Anglo American effectively stole a good chunk of the government of Kivu. This is the British model for the Second Great Scramble. As a mining company, Sominki has its own explosives supplies and access to weapons, i.e., it has the capability to carry out such an attack, or is in a commanding position to influence, those who fired on the refugee camps. The second example, is that of American Mineral Fields (AMF), which is based in Hope, Arkansas, but run from Canada. AMF has acquired from Gecamines the Kipushi copper-zinc mine, one of the world's premier copper-zinc mines, located in Shaba province (copper and zinc are often mined together). The Belgians developed Kipushi and began mining in 1925. At its peak in 1988, the Kipushi mine produced 143,000 tons of zinc, and 43,000 tons of copper. Its total known and probable reserves stand at 22.6 million tons, grading 2.1% copper and 13.8% zinc. AMF is the brainchild of its owner, Jean-Raymond Boulle, a former executive for DeBeer's Diamonds. In turn, AMF signed an agreement with Anglo American, which allows Anglo American to invest up to $100 million in any AMF venture in Shaba province, representing up to a 50% equity stake in the venture, including the Kipushi mine. Once again, ubiquitous Anglo American shows up. The third example, is that of tiny Consolidated Eurocan of Vancouver. In 1996, Eurocan finalized a deal that will allow it to purchase from the state mining company Gecamines, a 55% interest in the Tenke-Fungurume copper-cobalt deposits. Eurocan will pay a quarter of a billion dollars over 72 months for its stake, but the stake is worth potentially tens of billions of dollars in revenues.

    According to a Eurocan spokesman on Dec. 18, Tenke-Fungurume, located in Shaba province, represents the largest operating cobalt reserves in the world. It has geological reserves of 222 million tons of copper and cobalt, with potential reserves of 1 billion tons. Consolidated Eurocan is owned and run by Canadian wheeler-dealer Adolf Lundin. One U.S. mining source reported, ``There is no way that Eurocan can develop the mines on its own. It doesn't have the capabilities. It will have to sell off shares to established mining companies, most likely Iskor and Gencor, to work the properties.'' Iskor and Gencor are both South African companies, and part of the British raw materials cartel. Thus, these Canadian companies, in some cases stalking horses for Anglo American, are gobbling up Zaire's gold, copper, zinc, and cobalt reserves. Add to this, the Barrick Gold purchase of a huge concession in Haut Zaire, and the fact that there is now discussion of opening up the major government-owned diamond mining company, Societe Miniere de Bakwanga (MIBA), to foreign investors. MIBA accounts for 40% of Zaire's official diamond exports. The remaining 60% are developed by artisanal miners, i.e., prospectors, who then sell the gems to ``Israeli diamond buyers and to [international gem dealer] Maurice Templesman,'' according to a knowledgeable source. The Belgian-born Tempelsman, who squired around Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis before she died, is an international tycoon. He is former president of the U.S. Africa Society, a group that is influential in the shaping of U.S. government Africa policy.

    Free Uganda
  • The evil regime of Uganda

    Virunga Mountains

    Encampment is NRM, LRA 11th point programme, commandment
    By Samuel Olara
    The atrocious conditions of the camps have been well documented. However, little has been discussed in the media about the origin, and if any, the legal instruments governing the creation of these dreaded concentration camps. There is no article that stipulates the declaration of camps in the NRM ten-point programme, the ideological thinking behind the Luwero war fought between NRA and UNLA (1981-1986).

    Similarly, in the Ten Commandments that the LRA allegedly uses as an ideology to guide their brutal struggle against the Museveni administration, nowhere is the use of encampment articulated. Inspite of this, both parties are united by the 11th point Programme and Commandment, respectively, which they have jointly helped conceive, and implement.

    CASH FOR ARMS: Lt. Gen. Salim Saleh
    Having failed to defeat the LRA by conventional military attack by 1996, the NRM/NRA/UPDF devised the 11th point programme to "deny the LRA access to both food and human resources" using encampment, to defeat the so-called "mystical army". Secondly, it is widely believed that the 11th point programme was advocated by the NRM as a means to punish, emasculate and humiliate a recalcitrant population, particularly when after the 1996 presidential election President Museveni still found the people of the north to be "recalcitrant, unrepentant, and unyielding."

    In October 1996 after the May Presidential elections, President Museveni's Advisor on Political Affairs, Major Kakooza Mutale, deployed in Gulu; and set in motion the recruitment and deployment of the Popular Intelligence Network (PIN); whilst addressing rallies in which people were told that a big military confrontation with Sudan was imminent.

    Following Mutale's tour, the UPDF started forcefully removing people from their homes, enforced in some instances by the shelling of villages in Pabbo, Opit, Anaka, Cwero, Unyama, Awach, KocGoma, Amuru and Anaka, to mention but a few. The aim was to drive people out of their homes and into concentration camps. The shelling was supported with aerial bombardment. However, the NRM government has consistently stated that the UPDF only shelled rural areas where it suspected that the LRA was present.

    To enforce this 11th Point Programme, in July 1996, important changes were made in the high level of military command in Gulu. The 4th Division Commander based in Gulu Brigadier Chef Ali (RIP), was transferred and replaced by Lt. Col. James Kazini, a first cousin to the First Lady. To politically sooth the negative impacts of the implementation of this programme, President Museveni's younger brother, military-cum politician, Lt. Gen. Salim Saleh was also sent to Gulu as Presidential Advisor on Military Affairs. Both commanders are known for their die-hard views on implementing the "military solution" based on the assumption that the Acholi supported the rebels; even though rebels were killing Acholi daily.

    Saleh's politico-military strategy was to use the Acholi population to provoke the LRA through policies such as the creation of Acholi paramilitary youth brigades to fight LRA or groups for economic production through his Divinity Union Ltd.

    These policies drew the local population directly into the conflict between NRM/NRA/UPDF and rebel LRA, and made the local population sitting targets for the LRA.

    One unforgettable incident took place on the road between Parabongo and Pabbo where some civilians unearthed an LRA arms cache and handed it to the area Commander Salim Saleh, who insisted on giving them cash. In reprisal, the LRA chopped off 80 heads of the local population and lined them along the road, as a deterrent. They then ordered the local people to vacate the countryside, in what has become their 11th Commandment; in so doing, they have helped NRM/UPDF implement its 11th Point Programme of Encampment of Acholi.

    Almost immediately after the move to drive people out of their villages, members of the Acholi Parliamentary Group sought audience with then Minister of State for Defence Amama Mbabazi, and expressed concern about the government and UPDF's unconstitutional conduct. According to the ARLPI report "Let my people go"; the Minister's response was: "Since the people in Acholi supported the rebels, the Army had no choice but to move people away from their villages in order to deny the rebels food and information". He further noted that he "did not believe that the reported atrocities committed by soldiers were true." Mbabazi later repeated the same statements to a delegation from the EU, who had visited Gulu and had in fact, voiced the same concerns.

    The decision to create camps was officially announced by President Museveni on the 27th September 1996 to members of the Parliamentary Committee of the Office of the President and Foreign Affairs. Former Member of Parliament (MP) for Chua Constituency, Livingstone John Okello Okello, recalls that on that date the MPs from the North raised serious objections about the plan to move the population of Acholiland into camps, and that at the end of the meeting the President agreed to consult with the military saying that he would let them know about his decision, something which never took place.
    Officially the UPDF denies that it ever used force to make people move away from their villages. According to the then Army Public Relations Officer, Lt. Khelil Magara (RIP), "People came voluntarily to the camps … nearer to UPDF detachments … since it is not possible to dispatch a soldier at every homestead in Acholi." (New Vision 6th July 2001).

    However, the evidence shows that this was a deliberate war policy. Maj. Gen. Salim Saleh, in charge of military operations in Gulu, at that time, indicated one year after the move took place that the Army acted alone in creating camps because it "suspected bureaucracy and politicking over the issue".(The Monitor, 26 October 1997).
    In Pabbo, people quoted former Deputy 4th Division Commander Lt. Col Lakara as saying in an address at the trading centre, that "all rural areas should be left free for the UPDF to finish the rebels in a matter of few months".

    The LRA position vis-à-vis the UPDF/NRM was to use the civilians as a tool in their campaign. Observers believe that in pursuit of their objective the LRA devised the 11th Commandment, one that stipulates the assault on the civilian population. These brutalities on the civilians played well into the NRM's 11th Point Programme and enabled the UPDF implement a deliberate non-intervention policy against LRA attacks, as a strategy to force the people into camps.

    As a result, between the 7th and 12th January 1997, LRA rebels allegedly murdered more than 412 men, women and children in Lokung, Padibe and Palabek, in Kitgum District; one of many gruesome murders in Acholi. This triggered the first wave of flights to the so-called military detaches which were deliberately erected far away from the local villages and trading centres.

    Most political observers agree that this 11th NRM point programme, which was in line with the LRA's 11th Commandment, brought about the widely known "non-intervention" policy from the UPDF, to drive out those reluctant to leave their villages. In Kitgum for instance, when non-intervention was skillfully adopted, the acting Brigade Commander of the 503 Brigade based in Pajimu barracks, Lt. Col. Edson Muzoora (now exiled) was on "official leave."

    Over time, this policy of encampment began to fall apart, as people dared to return to their villages. But the UPDF then came up with the 48 hour ultimatum on the 4th October 2002, ordering people back into the concentration camps.

    Of course, both the LRA and the government have been told many times over that their IDP policies are counter productive. First, the LRA cannot use the camps as justification for the continuation of the war since it was partly responsible for creating the camps. Secondly, the M7 regime can no longer absolve itself of the responsibility of creating the camps. Thirdly, both sides can no longer continue to force people to live in the camps indefinitely since it is clear that as a military tool, the concentration camps have failed to bring victory to either side of the conflict. Finally, it is high time that all Ugandans and the international community rejected any attempt by either the government or the LRA to continue to hold the people in the camps anymore.

    As the Acholi Religious Leaders have aptly put it in their pastoral letter, will NRM and LRA"Let my People Go"?

    The writer is a human rights advocate resident in the UK. olarasamuel@hotmail.com

    Free Uganda