Northern Uganda Anglican Bishop Nelson Onono-Onweng has appealed to aid agencies to resume the services they suspended after the killing of two humanitarian workers by the Lords Resistance Army (LRA), a brutal rebel movement.
"We understand the position of the agencies," Onono-Onweng told Ecumenical News International from Gulu following the killing of the two workers on October 27. "To lose a person is a painful experience, but we want to appeal to them to resume their operations," he said, citing the severe impact on local people that the departure of the aid agencies would have.
Onono-Onweng said he would be talking to the agencies to try to persuade them to resume their services and he would also try to encourage the authorities to step-up security. "I also urge the people to be more careful and obey the warnings of the security teams," he said.
Agencies such as Oxfam, Medecins Sans Frontieres (Netherlands) and Christian Children's Fund (CCF) suspended their operations in northern Uganda after workers from the Roman Catholic NGO, Caritas, and the Agency for Cooperation and Research in Development were killed in two different towns in northern Uganda.
On October 26, two workers from the Christian Children's Fund had been wounded in another attack in Lira, while providing health assistance to local residents.
"It is tragic when aid workers, who give of themselves to help others in need, are injured, kidnapped or even killed. We hope governments around the world will take action to stop these kinds of tragedies," noted CCF President John F. Schultz on the agency's Web site.
Jan Egeland, the U.N. emergency relief coordinator, condemned the attacks saying: "The people of northern Uganda are heavily dependent on humanitarian aid and access to them is already precarious. These attacks threaten the provision of life-saving assistance to nearly 1.7 million people."
The attacks follow the issuing by the International Criminal Court of arrest warrants on five LRA leaders during October. News reports have also quoted Oxfam's Uganda country director, Emma Naylor, saying the issuing of the warrants had triggered some fear among residents of northern Uganda about the consequences.
[The Lord's Resistance Army is a paramilitary group operating mainly in northern Uganda, engaged in armed rebellion against the Ugandan government since 1987.]
Article from: Ecumenical News International By Fredrick Nzwili