SUDAN-UGANDA: Edward Lomude: "LRA soldiers beat me and left me for dead"

Friday, July 27, 2007

Edward Lomude, 16, lives in the village of Morsak, about 25km from Yei town in Southern Sudan. In a voice barely above a whisper, he told IRIN about his abduction on 19 May by the Ugandan rebel group, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).

"I was at home when about 35 rebels came to our village. They had dreadlocks and carried Kalashnikovs; they were all speaking Acholi [a northern Ugandan language].

“They rounded up all the villagers at the shop and looted everything. They then took me and five other men with them to carry the goods they had stolen.

“They released the other five men the next day, but insisted I stay with them. From the little Juba Arabic they spoke, I gathered that they wanted me to become a soldier and fight with them.

“From early morning to late evening, they made me carry heavy goods that they looted from shops along the way. While I was with them, they only abducted one other person, a 15-year-old girl.

“After about one month, we had travelled through the bush and were near the town of Nabanga [in western Equatoria State near Sudan's border with the Democratic Republic of Congo]. I was so tired by then that my legs literally refused to move.

“When they saw that I was not useful any more, they began to beat me; they hit me with a gun on my neck until I passed out. They thought they had killed me and continued with their journey.

“After four days lying in the bush, unable to move, some Zande [local ethnic community] people found me and took me in; they looked after me and took me to the town of Yambio [largest town in Western Equatorial], and then another good Samaritan took me to Yei. The SPLA [Sudan People's Liberation Army] brought me home and my uncle, the parish priest, is looking after me.

“Until the day I was captured, I had never heard of the LRA. I don't know who they are or why they are fighting, and I don't know why they came to my village. What I know is they have left us empty-handed; the shops are empty and they took all our clothes and cooking utensils; no one here has any money to buy these things."

Source: IRIN
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