Hundreds of people gathered on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC Tuesday to call on the United States to publicly support the Uganda peace talks. They include peace advocates and representatives for various human rights groups and relief agencies.
Among those taking part is Grace Akallo, a former child solider in northern Uganda. She was abducted 10-years-ago by the rebel lord’s resistance army. She’s in Washington on behalf of World Vision and other ngos and spoke to VOA English to Africa Service reporter Joe De Capua about what they hope to accomplish.
“We have to pressure, maybe put a little bit to the US government to support the peace talks that are in Sudan right now between the Lord’s Resistance Army and the Ugandan government. We want them to support because right now they’re not…they’re standing aside,” she says.
Akallo, now 26, says she will tell US officials her personal story about being abducted. “I’ll tell them exactly what happened the night of 1996 of October 9th, 10th…when the rebels broke into my dorm and grabbed 139 girls and marched them into the bush.” Two of those girls are still missing; five others are dead.
“It was hard. When we were taken we were trained to be soldiers. We were given guns and were sent to fight. And it was like hunger all the time. If you don’t fight, you don’t get food. Because you have to grab food from the civilians,” she says.”
Akallo is now attending college and majoring in communications. She says she wants to be a peace advocate, saying there are many places in Africa, not just northern Uganda, that need peace.