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NORTHERN UGANDA: Hidden War, Massive Suffering

By keith harmon snow  Posted by Georgianne Nienaber (about the submitter)     Permalink
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On May 18, 2007, ABC news broke a hidden story about horrors in Uganda, and then they censored and deleted reader’s comments. ABC has deleted an unknown number of comments by people horrified by the atrocities who only want to bring the truth to light and help stop the horrible suffering. Some forty comments were deleted on the night of May 20 alone. What are ABC’s real motives? From Darfur to Congo to Ethiopia to Somalia to Kenya—who or what is ripping apart this region of Africa?

On May 18, 2007, ABC News “The Blotter” posted a story titled “Secret Photos Reveal New African Horrors.” The short ABC web clip describes in unusual candor—for ABC—the hidden war and horrors in Northern Uganda. The title suggests that it is a “new” conflict, and yet another “African” conflict. Is ABC sincere in their reporting? Or is this just another propaganda campaign narrowly controlled to serve private profits?

“Documentary filmmakers in Uganda were subjected to intimidation and coercion and were the victims of break-ins while attempting to film what a former U.N. official calls “Uganda’s secret genocide” in the northern part of that country,” the ABC Blotter report begins. “The filmmakers say these threats came from Ugandan officials and secret intelligence organizations there.”

The story goes on to describe how an American film crew was reportedly robbed of footage and equipment as the photographers documented the suffering of millions of people, and the role of the Ugandan People’s Defense Forces (UPDF) and Ugandan government officials in perpetrating massive atrocities, war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The ABC report calls it “Uganda’s Secret Genocide,” a remarkable revelation in a world attuned only to the crisis in Darfur, Sudan, a place not so far away from Northern Uganda, and one involving some of the same combatants.

“The Ugandan government says it created refugee camps,” ABC reported, “for displaced people who were victims of a violent, ongoing civil conflict with a rebel group from the north called the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).”

Like Somalia and eastern Congo, the wars in Darfur and Northern Uganda are prosecuted for the same reasons: petroleum, gold, land—and other natural resources. There is money to be made, indeed, and the Uganda government is depopulating the land to make it easier. But this has been going on for years. Out of sight, out of mind. But absence makes the heart grow fonder.

Spotlight War, Hidden War

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While the war in Darfur is always described as a genocide by Arabs against black Africans—and never a “war” by competing factions—the war in Northern Uganda is almost never described at all. This is also true of the multiple fangs of conflict in Ethiopia, where the U.S. backed government of Meles Zenawi is committing genocide against indigenous people, the Anuak minority and others—but it’s completely out of the Western news. The AID for ARMS scandal in Ethiopia has seen hundreds of millions of dollars of weaponry purchased—and used—by AID dollars. This is a country of starvation, drought, and famine—and now the largest standing military in Africa, serving the interests of the Pentagon. The United Nations, UNICEF, everyone is silent.

The Darfur story receives massive press, but the Northern Uganda story has been in complete media whiteout. Like the millions of people at risk today in Somalia, where hundreds of thousands of refugees are on the move today due to a U.S. backed insurgency there, the war in Northern Uganda is off the agenda. The Darfur story has been running for about five years—an outrage where nothing happens to stop it—while the Uganda conflict has been running for more than fifteen years.

What’s the hidden agenda? Whose hidden agenda is it?

In the mid-1980’s today’s President of Uganda Yoweri Museveni seized power in a bloody conflict. Fighting alongside Museveni were Tutsi soldiers who would later go on to overthrow the government of Rwanda, in a low-intensity conflict that began in October 1990, and culminated in the spectacle of the Rwanda genocide of 1994. Powerful corporate, intelligence and defense interests from the United States backed both insurgencies.

Museveni also sent his bloodthirsty troops into Congo. Millions of innocent people died under Ugandan occupation, while Museveni and his gang plundered Congo’s natural resources, raped women and whipped up killing fields scattered with skeletons.
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But Museveni is someone’s “Golden Boy,” just like Uganda was always Britain’s “Pearl of Africa.”

President Yoweri Museveni has controlled Uganda for more than 20 years in a one-party dictatorship friendly to powerful corporate interests predominantly from the United States, Britain and Israel.

But years ago, up in the north of Uganda, the Museveni government herded the minority Acholi people into forced settlements—they called then “refugee” camps—under the claim that the government was providing protection from rebel forces supposedly hostile to the Museveni government. They became death camps, and they are death camps still.

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