Caritas worker killed by northern Uganda geurilla group

Caritas Australia has received news that a Caritas worker from a partner agency in northern Uganda - Caritas Gulu - was tragically killed by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) last Wednesday.

CLICK HEREMr Okot Stalin worked for Caritas Gulu, an agency which is providing humanitarian assistance such as shelter, counselling and livelihood support to thousands of families displaced by the conflict in northern Uganda, and providing shelter and protection for the children who have been abducted by the LRA. Caritas Australia has been supporting their work over the last two years.

There have been two other attacks on unarmed humanitarian workers working in the region within days of Mr Stalin's murder, increasing insecurity and causing many aid agencies in the region to restrict their relief operations. Since the people of northern Uganda are heavily reliant on humanitarian aid, these attacks have severely threatened the provision of assistance to these displaced people.

The attacks follow the issue of arrest warrants for five LRA leaders by the International Criminal Court (ICC) last month. Since the issue of the warrants the LRA have intensified their activities in various locations in northern Uganda and southern Sudan.

Since the LRA started their brutal activities 19 years ago, tens of thousands of people have been killed in the country. Virtually the entire population of 1.4 million have been herded into squalid camps for their own protection. The region was formally known for its highly fertile and productive land, but since the people have been placed in the camps, the land now lies fallow.

Led by Ugandan and self proclaimed prophet Joseph Kony, the LRA has relied heavily upon children aged between 10 and 16 years old to perpetuate their movement. Children are abducted from their families and inducted into the army against their will and used as porters, fighters and sex slaves for the LRA commanders.

Caritas Australia is working in conjunction with Caritas Uganda to provide financial and technical support for the Northern Uganda Emergency Program which is being implemented through the Catholic Dioceses of Gulu and Lira. This program aims to enhance the reception, rehabilitation, reintegration and resettlement of former child soldiers and families affected by the conflict.

Caritas worker killed by geurilla group in northern Uganda (Caritas Australia 1/11/05)

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2 Nov 2005