UN says fighting in northern Uganda targets children creating night commuters

Under-Secretary-General Jan Egeland of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) visited the northern Kitgum and Gulu districts over the weekend and saw some of the thousands of “night commuters,” children who leave their village homes at night to seek safety in towns from abduction in the 17-year civil war.”I am deeply shocked by what I have seen,” Mr. Egeland said after visiting an area in Kitgum where 4,000 to 5,000 children sleep each night. “This is above all a war against children. They are abducted, abused and violated.”Rebels have abducted an estimated 10,000 children in northern Uganda this year. Earlier in the year, OCHA reported that 50 religious and civil society leaders went to the area and slept outside for four nights in solidarity with the children. The leaders appealed to rebel Lord’s Resistance Army chief, Joseph Kony, to stop abducting children.Mr. Egeland also visited camps for internally displaced people (IDPs) in the area. The number of IDPs rose to 1.2 million this year from 800,000 last year.Almost all aid workers have to be escorted by the Ugandan military to visit the IDPs, OCHA said.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *