Caritas not providing food to Ugandan rebels
08 October 2008
Caritas says untrue allegations that its aid is being given to Uganda rebels are misleading and irresponsible. A government minister in Uganda called on Caritas to stop delivering food aid to rebel groups in the north of the country. However, Caritas Uganda is not delivering food aid and it has closely consulted with government on its activities. Read Caritas Uganda statement
Caritas is well regarded in Uganda for its work among the vulnerable.
Caritas had provided food aid to rebel groups while the peace process that began in 2006 was in place at the request of the Ugandan government and international mediators in line with its humanitarian mission. Caritas ended all food aid distributions once negotiations collapsed and has supplied no food aid since April 2008. The Ugandan government is aware of all these steps.
Government Minister for Disaster Preparedness, Professor Tarsis Kabwegyere said on 30 September, “Caritas should stop giving food to the rebels so that they get under pressure to sign the peace agreement. But as long as they continue to get supplies, they will see no reason of ending the rebellion. There is a moral question on why (rebel leader) Kony continues to receive food. Whoever is sending food to the jungles is committing a mortal sin especially if they are Christians”.
Caritas Uganda National Director Msgr. Dr. Francis Ndamira said, “We would like to clarify this statement which is likely to mislead the public and the world which is already too anxious and waiting for that day of signing the peace agreement. Caritas Uganda is not currently supplying food and medicine to the rebels. When the (peace agreement) signing flopped, Caritas also ended its mandate.
“It is therefore surprising for Hon. Prof. Kabwegyere to make such misleading and irresponsible statements of that kind. On the contrary, he should thank Caritas Uganda and the entire Catholic Church leadership for the peaceful contribution we have made in the peace process and also the spiritual and material help which the respective Churches have given to the suffering people in Northern Uganda.”
The Ugandan government started negotiating for peace with the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels under the mediation of Southern Sudan government in October 2006. Caritas Uganda was mandated by a mediating team consisting of the Ugandan government, Southern Sudan Government, the rebels, a consortium of donors and UN representatives to supply food and medicine with set guidelines to the rebels in Ri-Kwangaba in Southern Sudan, bordering Garamba forest in the Republic of Congo.
The supplies were checked and monitored regularly by the monitoring team in Juba until the date set for signing Peace Agreement in April, 2008. When the agreement collapsed, Caritas suspended its operations.
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