By Ann Garrison
In October 2011, President Obama sent 100 U.S. Special Operations Forces into Uganda’s northern region to, he said, help the Ugandan Army protect the people by hunting down Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army, commonly known by its acronym, the LRA. Now, however, many Acholi and other indigenous people of Northern Uganda say that Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s attempt to evict them from their land is what really threatens their survival.
On Feb. 12, Ugandan American Black Star News Editor Milton Allimadi published ‘Uganda: Museveni’s and Madhvani Group’s Acholi Land Grab Would Amount to Second Genocide.’
‘A vicious land grab,’ Allimadi wrote, ‘is being carried out in Uganda, pairing the country’s dictator with an ‘investor,’ and the targets are the Acholi, genocide survivors who live in the northern part of the East African country, on abundant, fertile and mineral-rich land.’
During Museveni’s 26-year rule, since 1986, his army drove 90 percent of the Acholi people into refugee camps, where many died of starvation or disease or committed suicide, though Museveni justified the refugee camps by claiming that he was protecting the Acholi people from the LRA.
Allimadi cited documents attributed to President Museveni by American scholar Todd David Whitmore which show that Museveni was all the while eyeing Acholi land for mechanised agriculture. In recent years, he wrote, the land contest has intensified, as rich oil fields have been discovered in the region.
One member of a Northern Ugandan community which sustains itself by traditional, clan-based agriculture, said in the video, ‘Shoot Us All Down,’ made by the Kampala, Uganda-based Refugee Law Project, that many Northern Ugandans are ready to die to stop the land evictions: ‘Everywhere you go, you ask, talk about land. Aiyiyiyiyi … [people say]. Don’t take the only resource we have left. For land, I’m ready to die. I’m ready to shed blood.’
Milton Allimadi and others have said for several years that Museveni and the U.S. government are using the infamous LRA militia as an excuse to send in troops to secure oil and other resources in Uganda, Congo and South Sudan.
Ugandan American Black Star News Editor Milton Allimadi hails from the Acholi region of Northern Uganda, where he says the Acholi people are now facing a second genocide consequent to land eviction.
In early January, Obama approved weapons sales to the new nation of South Sudan and the next week said that he would also send U.S. troops with expertise gained in the United States Marines, Air Force, Navy and Army, meaning again, Special Forces. In early February, they arrived in South Sudan, which borders northern Uganda and is also a homeland to the Acholi people.
During the third week of February, wire services and mainstream dailies reported that U.S. troops are now in Uganda, Congo, the Central African Republic and South Sudan. None reported the indigenous land evictions or what Milton Allimadi calls the Second Acholi Genocide.
Milton Allimadi spoke about the situation in Acholiland and the U.S. troops in the region with WBAI AfrobeatRadio, 99.5FM-NYC and streaming online at wbai.org, between 4 and 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 1.
Writer Ann Garrison writes for the San Francisco Bay View, Global Research, Colored Opinions, Black Star News, the Newsline EA (East Africa) and her own website and produces for AfrobeatRadio on WBAI-NYC, Weekend News on KPFA and her own YouTube Channel, AnnieGetYourGang. She can be reached at [email protected].