Monday, 2 June 2003

Kampala (Fides Service) – “We are truly deeply grieved, there seems to be no end to the violence” missionaries working in northern Uganda tell Fides Service after yet another attack on a mission in the region. On 30 May at Omya-Anyma 40 kilometres west of Kitgum a group of the Lord’s resistance Army rebels (LRA) attacked a mission, and some military and government buildings. In the attack 17 people were killed: 11 rebels, 5 civilians and a soldier. The head of the mission, Comboni missionary Father Gerardo Marvin Fuentes Murillo from Costa Rica is safe but still under shock. When the rebels attacked the mission Father Gerardo was inside the church and he saw the them break into homes, including the priests’ house, looting the local people’s poor belongings.
Omya-Anyma is the newest parish in Gulu diocese, it has about 30,000 faithful and serves 18 smaller communities.
Since the 1980s the LRA has sown death and destruction in northern Uganda” the missionaries tell Fides Service. “For a long time now we missionaries, the local clergy, the Bishops and other religious groups have tried to mediate an end to the war. But lately we have seen only negative signs. The most recent was the kidnapping of a group of forty seminarians from Lachor seminary; in the incident at least four of the students were killed. There seems to be no real desire for peace; indeed these latest episodes of violence would appear to be part of a plan to resume fighting on a large scale”.
The missionaries conclude with a new appeal: “This is one in the long series of Africa’s forgotten wars. To foreigners our appeals for international intervention may seem rhetorical; but for those of us living this desperate situation, a foreign intervention is now indispensable: we cannot go on like this” LM (Fides Service 2/6/2003 EM lines 9 Words: 57)