Kadaga to push govt to account for missing Lwala students

Kadaga says she will read names of 88 missing girls in Parliament on Tuesday as she ramps up effort to support former victims

PARLIAMENT | The Speaker of Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, has challenged the government to account for 88 girls abducted by Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels in 2004 and will on Tuesday take the matter before Plenary to give it more impetus.

Kadaga, who apologised for inaction by official in regards advocacy for the plight of girls in LRA captivity, said leaders have a responsibility to do more.

“If we highlight your issue, we can do something for you. On Tuesday, August 14, during plenary, I will the read out names of the 88 missing Lwala girls and see to it that the we move a motion to debate their concerns,” she said.

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Kadaga was Friday speaking at the commemoration of the abduction of 180 girls from Lwala Girls Secondary School by LRA rebels June 24, 2003. The commemorative event was held in Kaberamaido.

In June 2004, LRA rebels, who had infiltrated Teso sub-region from Northern Uganda where they had terrorised the populace for decades, raided Lwala Girls School and abducted 100 girls.

The army later rescued a dozen of the girls from captivity as it launched hot pursuit of Joseph Kony and his rebels. A handful of girls also later escaped but many more remain in captivity 14 years later.

The Speaker said had previously spoken about the negative impact of abductions on victims at several international meetings but acknowledged that there was more to be done to give the issue the attention it deserves.

“I apologize to the Lwala girls because we have not spoken enough about their issues. We have a responsibility to advocate for them to, among others, complete their education,” Kadaga said, adding that there was no response but called for affirmative action in rehabilitating the victims.

She committed to engage the government in an effort to find the 88 missing Lwala girls. She also said that children born in captivity need identity so that they can have access to social amenities.

The chairperson of the Teso Parliamentary Group, Hon. Veronica Eragu (NRM, Kaberamaido County) said Government had concluded an agreement under the Peace, Recovery and Development Plan (PRDP) that was implemented in July 2008, to look after the former abductees but it had remained pending.

“Madam Speaker, under your watch, we have achieved a lot and I request that we endeavor to take care of these girls and improve their livelihood,” Eragu said.
Priscilla Amuge, the Chairperson of Lwala Girls Abducted Survivors Association (LWAGASA) said most of the former abductee girls were facing gender based violence and stigmatization in society with most of them being single mothers.
“We call on the Minister for Gender to come here and sensitize communities on how to cater for these girls who managed to escape the clutches of the LRA rebels because most of them returned with children,” said Amuge.
The Speaker also committed Parliament’s financial support of shs400 million to Lwala Girls Secondary School saying, “we will give shs200 million to the construction of a girl’s dormitory and the other shs200 million to the LWAGASA Sacco.”

The event was graced by Members of Parliament, including Maria Goretti Ajilo (NRM, Kaberamaido), Elijah Okupa (FDC, Kasilo County), Anthony Okello (NRM, Kioga County), and Fredrick Angura (Tororo South County); as well district Local Government leaders and former students of Lwala Girls Secondary School.

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