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Enforcement of COVID-19 Curfew Provokes War Memories in Acholi :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Enforcement of COVID-19 Curfew Provokes War Memories in Acholi

The latest incident involved 16 security personnel; 10 police officers and six UPDF soldiers who tortured over 38 civilians in Elegu Town Council, Uganda-South Sudan border while enforcing the 14 days’ curfew.
07 Apr 2020 11:22
Several non-food shops along Cemetery Road in Pece Division visbily closed due to tight security in the wake national lock down - Photo by Dominic Ochola

Audio 5


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The brutal enforcement of the 14 days’ curfew in Uganda has provoked memories of the over two-decade armed conflict between Government and rebels in the Acholi sub-region.

This follows incidences of torture, looting and beating by Local Defense Unit (LDUs) and Police backed by Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) soldiers enforcing the Presidential directive against Coronavirus (COVID-19) disease.

The latest incident involved 16 security personnel; 10 police officers and six UPDF soldiers who tortured over 38 civilians in Elegu Town Council, Uganda-South Sudan border while enforcing the 14 days’ curfew.

Between 1986 to 2006, then National Resistance Army now Uganda People’s Defense Force (UPDF) conducted house to house raids and mounted several roadblocks along highways and imposed curfews in pursuit of the Lord’s Resistance Army – LRA rebels.

Characterized by brutality; torture and arrests, the instability led to the deaths of over 2,500 people and displaced several people in over 150 concentrated internally displaced persons’ camps with restricted movements.

Now, several leaders and residents in Acholi have likened the then reign of terror orchestrated by both the Government and rebel forces to the prevailing inhumane treatment now being perpetrated by errant security personnel enforcing the Coronavirus (COVID-19) guidelines.

Amuru District LCV Chairperson, Michael Lakony reveals that he grew up watching NRA soldiers abusing the rights of civilians in pursuit of rebels and it is the same cruelty being replicated in the enforcement of the 14 days’ curfew.

//Cue in: “The curfew… 

Cue out: …i grew up.’’//

Robert Larubi, of Omoro District, intimates that the current curfew reminds him and the past dark days when he would struggle among his peers to evade abductions by the LRA rebels by commuting every night to take refuge on the streets of Gulu Town.

//Cue in: “For children of… 

Cue out: …of the people.’’//

Human rights activist, John Bosco Uhuru, contends that the security personnel who have been part and partial of Uganda’s militaristic history and suffering are opening war scars in the hearts and minds of the post-war community in Acholi sub-region.

//Cue in: “I for one… 

Cue out: …stand warned.’’//

Eric Odong, another rights activist shared his experience saying so many young people have never witnessed curfews in the country and were being beaten by errant security personnel in Gulu Town.

//Cue in: “My experience of… 

Cue out: …by the soldiers.’’//

Aswa River Region Police Spokesperson, Patrick Jimmy Okema explains that many people especially the youths fell victim of the on-going curfew because they wanted to experience and test the aggression of the security personnel.

//Cue in: “I don’t think… 

Cue out: …timing very well.’’//

On April 1, President Yoweri Museveni declared 14 days of curfew and national lockdown as one of the safeguard measures to prevent the spread of the world pandemic Coronavirus in the country.