AFRICA/UGANDA - “Truth is the first victim of war and the first element to restore in view of peace”: Week of Prayer for Peace in Northern Uganda

Thursday, 11 January 2007

Kampala (Agenzia Fides)- “I testified how true it is that in every war the first victim is truth. The war in northern Uganda is no exception: the army and the rebels lie” Fides learned from a missionary in Northern Uganda where the local Church started a Week of Prayer for Peace on January 8.
“Peace is built on truth and justice. The first step in reconciliation is to admit one’s faults and responsibilities for starting violence. It is time to stop telling lies and blaming others. All sides are responsible in one way or the other”.
“In my reflection to help prayer - the missionary said- I asked people to think of the values of our tribes but also of our weaknesses which can lead to violence and lack of respect for others. I said no one is innocent and we must stop accusing one another”.
The initiative of the Week of Prayer for Peace was started in 2006 by the Justice and Peace Commission of the diocese of Gulu city, Gulu region in northern Uganda, to follow the annual World Day of Peace on January 1. More than 7,000 people ceme for the event from southern Sudan and Democratic Congo. All three countries have experienced civil war and are striving to restore peace. “Besides Catholics many other Christians and members of the Muslim community come to take part” the missionary said.
Justice and Peace Commission secretary Lam Cosmos, the “Week of Prayer is of fundamental importance, it gives hope to thousands of people who have experienced 20 years of violence at the mercy of an armed rebellion”.
The rebellion led by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) started in 1986. Since then most of the people of Northern Uganda have lived in refugee camps. The LRA militia have abducted countless children and forced them to fight in their ranks.
Recently the LRA which has bases in southern Sudan and northern Democratic Congo, had talks with the government of Kampala, with the mediation of the government of Southern Sudan (see Fides 28 and 30 August and 12 September 2006). (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 11/1/2007 righe 36 parole 445)