Ex-LRA combatants return to Gulu amidst calls for forgiveness and reconciliation

Gulu – A total of 141 former Lord’s Resistance Army Combatants were on Saturday received at the SOS Community Centre, Pece Pawel Central in Gulu District.

The State Minister for Northern Uganda Grace Freedom Kwiyucwiny commended the former combatants for their decision to abandon rebellion and return home.

“Thank you for making that good decision and as they say, East or West home is best, and thank you for keeping the Ugandan culture because almost all of you can speak Acholi language,” Minister Kwiyucwiny said.

Kwiyucwiny commended president Yoweri Museveni and all government leaders for facilitating the returnees to come back home.

“The President didn’t bring you home to suffer but to enjoy the peace and live a good life. Our government doesn’t segregate, discriminate and it will look after you as any other citizen of this country,” the Minister added.

She also told former LRA combatants that the government has prepared amnesty for them and cautioned them against engaging in bad acts which will see them dragged to the Courts of Law.

The 4 Infantry Division Deputy Commander Brig Gen John Musoke who represented the Division Commander thanked the key players who enabled the former LRA combatants to return home.

Brig Gen Musoke assured them of their safety and security and urged the parents to keep advising their children and called upon the leaders to sensitize the citizens for a better Uganda.

The Archbishop of Gulu Archdiocese, Archbishop John Baptist Odama called upon the people to forgive the former combatants because they are their children and encouraged all the people to live in peace and harmony.

On behalf of the returnees, Doctor Ocaya commended the Government of Uganda and the UPDF leadership for bringing them back home.

“It was not willingness to be in the bush, we ask for total forgiveness and we have come back with one heart to stay with you in peace,” Ocaya said.

The 141 returnees were welcomed and APRU Pax an NGO based in Gulu pledged to give them food, medical attention and other necessities.

The function was attended by the Chairperson Technical Committee Brig Gen Patrick Ocen, Resident City Commissioner Jane Francese Okili, Mayor Gulu City Alfred Okwonga, Coordinator APRU Pax John Lumumba, LCV Gulu district Opiyo Christopher, Members of the Parliament from Northern Uganda, Religious leaders, Cultural leaders, and government leaders among others.

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