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People & Power
The Final Betrayal
The battle for peace in Northern Uganda.
Last Modified: 13 Apr 2009 07:57 GMT

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When Callum MacCrae first visited Northern Uganda in 2003, the war between the government and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) had been raging for 17 years.

The LRA was ruling through a terrifying mixture of brutality, fear and 'mystic' power but few in the West had heard of the conflict.

If the LRA had been stealing oil rather than children - more than 90 per cent of the LRA rebels were abducted children - perhaps the world would have paid more attention?

MacCrae has returned to Northern Uganda as it struggles with a fraught peace process involving the LRA, the Ugandan government and the International Criminal Court (ICC).

Some of those displaced during the war are tentatively returning to their villages, although most remain in the displacement camps.

Callum MacCrae returns to Uganda to talk to those he first met during the height of the war
Many rebels are also starting to return home to the villages they once terrorised - the problem of integrating these young men and women who grew up as fighters in this brutal rebellion are only just beginning.

In this film MacCrae talks to those he first met at the height of a war.

For years, the West ignored this war but now the ICC, on the invitation of the Ugandan government, has indicted the leaders of the LRA for war crimes.

In response, the LRA have made the dropping or suspension of action by the ICC a condition of any peace deal with the government.

They have said that they are willing to accept traditional mechanisms of justice as practiced by the Acholi people of Northern Uganda. It is a system based on reconciliation and forgiveness.

If the peace talks fail because the ICC and the rest of the world deem traditional Acholi justice insufficient, it may be the final betrayal for the people of Northern Uganda.

This episode of People & Power aired from Tuesday, December 30, 2008.

Source:
Al Jazeera
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