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Insecurity hampering aid efforts in the north - UN

[Uganda] 2006 CAP document.
(Eric Kanalstein/UNMIL)

Continued attacks by the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in northern Uganda have made it difficult for humanitarian workers to assist about 2.5 million people in the region to meet their basic needs, a senior UN official said on Monday.

Speaking at the launch of the UN's 2006 Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) for Uganda, the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, Martin Mogwanja, said since 2004, the region had "witnessed renewed attacks by the LRA on the civilian population and more recently even on humanitarian workers".

"Let me unreservedly condemn these attacks on innocent civilians and humanitarian workers as serious violations of international humanitarian law," he added. "I call again on the LRA and its supporters to immediately cease attacks on civilians and humanitarians workers and to release all the abducted children immediately."

According to the UN Office of the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), beneficiaries of the US $223 million appeal will include 1.7 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in extreme poverty and inhuman conditions in camps in Acholi region.

Others include IDPs in [eastern] Teso and Lango regions; some 260,000 refugees in eight districts in the [northwestern] West Nile and western regions of the country; and more than 500,000 drought affected people in [northeastern] Karamoja region.

Northern Uganda has remained the scene of a brutal insurgency that pits government forces against the LRA, resulting in the displacement of close to 90 percent of the region's people.

The displaced live in 105 overcrowded camps and rely largely on external assistance for survival while insecurity hinders access of relief workers to IDP camps.

"The killing of humanitarian workers in northern Uganda and southern Sudan between the last week of October and the first week of November has further undermined unhindered access in most of Acholi sub-region and northern Lango," he noted.

"Humanitarian partners whose mandates do not allow the use of military escorts were forced to reduce their activities, while for humanitarian partners whose mandates do allow the use of escorts, the cost of hiring open vehicles for escorts represents an additional cost element that was not often reflected in budgets," he added.

The rebels also frequently attack refugee settlements in the northwestern town of Adjumani. At the same time, LRA activities in southern Sudan have led to the arrival of a new wave of Sudanese refugees.

Mogwanja urged the government to increase military patrols along the main roads and around IDP settlements.

The complete CAP document is available at: http://ochaonline.un.org

This article was produced by IRIN News while it was part of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs. Please send queries on copyright or liability to the UN. For more information: https://shop.un.org/rights-permissions

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