During the peak of the Lord’s Resistance Army[LRA] rebels activities, hundreds of Internally Displaced Persons [IDPs] from neighbouring sub-counties were hosted in Barlonyo, Ogur sub-county, Lira district.
Similar camps existed in major towns and trading centres of Northern Uganda.
On 21st, February, 2004, over 200 mass killings took place in Barlonyo. On that day, it ceased being called Barlonyo. It should be renamed Barcan – to mean “field of poverty”.
Similarly, during the years 1971– 2005, a lot of people were killed under various circumstances, ranging from violent change in government in 1971, gun wielding cattle rustlers, local thieves who took advantage of unrests, marauding soldiers and the LRA rebels.
The estimated figures could be about 400 – 800 people who lost their lives during these periods, climaxed by the Barcan massacres on 21 February 2004, one of the largest single bloodletting day.
The day was a gruesome day for the whole of Lango and Uganda. It should be remembered as a Black Day in Lango.
I join Hon. Dan Omara Atubo to add my voice that all the Lango districts must observe this day.
It should not happen again. Starting next year 2020, I appeal to all the MPs, District Chairs, Councillors, Faith bodies, the academics, business personalities, diplomats, ex- politicians, public servants, retired civil servants, young people and well-wishers to converge at Barcan to observe the Black Day of Lango, as a result of several massacres during the period 1985 – 2005 or there about.
The organisation of the Black Day should be a joint effort and not left in the hands of Hon Angiro Charles Gutumoi, MP Erute North, in which Barcan falls.
At Barcan a proper cenotaph should be erected and if possible, the names of the dead, over the years, should be inscribed on it to honour those who were killed during 1971 – 2005, and those people whose remains are elsewhere in East Africa.
Each year, a peace message should be themed for observing the day in memory and honour of our dead.
These messages shall reach the persons who conducted and oversaw the crime!
No person should die in an IDPcamp. Government should provide adequate protection to citizens in distress during all conditions.
Ambassador Julius Peter Moto
The Author is Uganda’s Ambassador to United Kingdom [UK] and Ireland