Clerics ask ex-LRA fighters to return arms

By CHRIS OCOWUN                                                                                                                                                  Wednesday, Jan 4, 2012 (New Vision)
Acholi Religious Leaders have embarked on mobilising former LRA fighters, abductees and members of the community who are still in possession of small arms and light weapons to voluntarily hand them over to authorities.
The retired Bishop of Kitgum Diocese, Macleod Baker Ochola II, called upon former LRA fighters and abductees to surrender any arms, bombs or grenades they have.
Ochola was speaking during an end of year peace prayer at Palaro trading centre in Gulu District on Saturday.
"The Government has allowed us to collect these small arms without injuring those in possession of them. You can take them to any local or religious leader in your community," Ochola said.
A statement by the Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative, reads: "Our theme for the end of year peace prayer is to empower survivors of wars and reducing the demand for small arms and light weapons".
"The christmas break witnessed violence perpetuated by use of small arms, others threatening to use small arms to resolve land conflicts, domestic violence and clan conflicts," the message read in part.
The message, which was read by Ochola called on the Government and development partners to support survivors or victims of wars.
Ochola urged the members of the community not to revenge against the former LRA abductees, saying it was not their fault that they were abducted by the LRA rebels.