Uganda's ex-combatants struggle to reintegrate
Uganda’s government programme for the social and economic reintegration of some 27,000 amnesty-granted former armed rebels has stalled, leaving thousands with few options to earn a living.
After ex-Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) fighter Bosko Akena was captured by Ugandan troops in the Central African Republic last December, he was demobilized. He received an amnesty certificate and a reinsertion package of 263,000 shillings ($120), along with a mattress, blanket, hoe, basin, jerrycan, cups, plates and five kilograms of maize and bean seeds. But almost a year on, his package is proving insufficient to sustain a living. He resides in a slum on the outskirts of Gulu town, doing odd jobs. “We are struggling to fend for ourselves and families with no proper means. We were just reinserted into the community without any basic trainings and funds to start income-generating activities,” Akena told IJT.
According to figures recently announced by Uganda’s Amnesty Commission, which runs the official reintegration programme, just 7,170 out of 26,932 ex-combatants from 29 armed groups and tribal attackers who renounced their former alliances have been reintegrated in their communities.