Lord's Resistance Army
The humanitarian situation in northern Uganda is worse than in Iraq, or
anywhere else in the world, a senior United Nations official has said.
UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, Jan Egeland was speaking to the BBC after visiting
the area affected by 18 years of civil war.
"It is a moral outrage" that the world is doing so little for the victims of the war, especially children,
The rebels routinely abduct children to serve as sex slaves and fighters.
Thousands of children leave their houses in northern Uganda to sleep rough in the major towns, where
they feel more safe from the threat of abduction by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).
They often mutilate their victims, by cutting off their lips, noses or ears.
"I cannot find any other part of the world that is having an emergency on the scale of Uganda, that
is getting such little international attention," Mr Egeland told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme.
Earlier, religious leaders from the area urged the United Nations to intervene in the conflict.
"The United Nations (should) play a great role in scaling down the violence by placing peace observers
in the conflict areas," said a statement from the Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative (ARLPI), after meeting Mr Egeland.
LRA gunmen last week killed at least 40 people near the north-eastern town of Lira, officials say.
Some 3,000 people have fled to Lira town following the upsurge in violence.
An army spokesman said the latest attacks seemed to be an act of revenge for the killing of rebel commander
Charles Tabuley last month.
Lira district resident commissioner Charles Egou told the BBC that the 3,000 people were being housed
in displaced person's camps in the area.
"Scores of civilians were killed at around midnight on 6 November in Alanyi and Awayopiny villages
in Lira district," Lieutenant Chris Magezi said.
Catholic missionary, Father Sabbat Ayele, told the AFP news agency that witnesses had said the
rebels had beheaded some of the victims while a number of grass-thatched huts were set on fire.
Children prefer to sleep rough in town than risk being abducted
Thousands of civilians have been killed and more than a million others displaced by the fighting in
northern Uganda alone.
Humanitarian organisations say that about 20,000 children have been abducted by the rebels over the
last five years, with many taken to LRA bases in southern Sudan, where they are trained as child soldiers while the girls
are turned into sex slaves.
Children are abducted and forced to fight for the LRA rebels
The Uganda Children
Here are some photos of the children.
In the children's ward of Lira hospital, Ogwang Vincent
holds the hand of his five-year-old sister, Akello Dorcus. He found her at the camp on Sunday lying between the dead bodies
of his mother and father, her head hacked by a machete.
Picture above depicts children sleeping in an unused ward of a
missionary hospital in Gulu, afraid to sleep in the IDP camps while revising their books in a very depressing state of constant
Child peeps through the unfinished wall of a hut in one of
the many IDP camps in northern Uganda.
children in the children camp in Gulu town are the victims of
pain, hunger, malnourished and are worn out with no hope for the future.
Women waiting for the distribution of food items in pabbi displaced
camp in Gulu, northern uganda.
Conditions in the displaced camps are very tough and the accommodation
is extremely worst with worst sanitation and usually camps have been catching fires leaving the affected people without shelters.
These tents are providing families in the camps with alternative
shelters which are more convenient and less expensive to maintain.
Vulnerable children in extremely worst condition and most of them
could not even test what food is like and living like animals with no hope for the future.
This is a hut used by people in the displaced camps in a
state of worst with rain entering the hut and sunshine with poor sanitation costing the lives of many people here.
thousands of children are benefiting from clean drinking water
drilled by Children Aid in displaced camp.
Children in particular
are at risk. Every night, tens of thousands of children "relocate" from their homes to nearby towns to seek shelter. The children
have become known as the "night commuters".
Vulnerable children orphaned in a state of fear for the future
as they have no hope and no relatives to take care of them.
Every night in northern Uganda, tens of thousands of children, known as night commuters, flow into town centres. They come
seeking safety in shelters set up by aid agencies, with the Ugandan government unable to end a brutal 18-year war and protect
them from rebel attacks. At a centre known as the Arc in Gulu town, hundreds of boys will share the floor.
Many children walk long distances to find safety at night but they still want
to learn and do their homework. Desperate to break out of a cycle of war and dependence, many children, such as these teenage
girls at the Arc, spend their evenings reading by what scant light there is in order to finish their homework by the next
Children can walk for 7km each night to reach town from the outlying
villages. Often these children sleep on business verandas, under trucks or in the central bus station so they can start off
for school earlier than those staying in the centres. Although it is safer in town than the villages, it is not without risks
as children must always be on the alert for the police who can treat them roughly.