LRA continues to abduct children
Mary cannot sleep at night. She has horrendous scars on her back and legs but it is not these that keep her awake. What prevents her from sleeping is the nightmare through which she lived and which will be with her until the moment she dies. She was gang-raped by around thirty "men". Mary is eight
Mary lives in a mission in Uganda which looks after girls who have been raped or mistreated, many of them, if not all, by the Lord's Resistance Army, controlled by a criminal called Joseph Kony, who calls himself God.
The LRA operates from bases inside Southern Sudan and controls areas of territory in Northern Uganda. However, it is also suspected of having links with the Interhamwe of the DR Congo and of having militia operating in the region of Bunia.
Torture and rape, forced slavery, looting, setting people on fire or hacking them to death, men, women and children alike, are the hallmarks of this evil band of assassins whose practices are nearer to the Devil than to God.
Thousands of children have been kidnapped from their homes and forced to fight as soldiers against the government forces which the LRA is trying to overthrow, or else are turned into slaves to work for LRA leaders or to live as concubines. It is estimated that 12.000 children have been taken in this
way in the last two years.
Many of these children are bartered or given as presents to the arms dealers in the Sudan who support the LRA, which claims it intends to set up a state which bases its laws on the Ten Commandments, the Ten Commandments which Kony and his gang break every day.
Yesterday UNICEF released a report which stated that the UNO considers that the numbers of abducted children is a "cause for great distress". Volunteers at numerous reception centres, which provide a home for the few terrified children who manage to escape, try to find the families, which themselves
have been displaced in the civil strife. However, the reception centres are a medicine, not a cure.
The cure is for the Ugandan authorities to find this murderer Joseph Kony and disband his evil gang of savages before they ruin the lives of any more of Uganda's children.
UNICEF Executive Carol Bellamy wrote in the International Herald Tribune ""The world may be awakening to the emergency in Sudan but it has all but forgotten the tragedy of neighbouring Uganda." How true.
In a world in which the fate and future of a child depends wholly on the accident called the birthplace, those lucky enough to have been born into a safe home have a collective responsibility to make the world a better place.
This does not mean it is right to drop cluster bombs on civilians and engage in full-scale wars costing hundreds of thousands of millions of dollars, looting the resources of countries which have been "liberated".
It means investing in organizations such as the UNO, aiding it to do its job instead of working against it, deriding its good name and breaking its Charter, it means paying the subscription to the UNO so that it is not permanently strapped for cash and it means living up to the pledges made at donor conferences.
This is the way to deal with people like Kony, who exists only to bring terror and misery to thousands of innocent people.