The Aboke girls are the 139 secondary school students who were abducted from the dormitories of St Mary’s College in Aboke, Uganda on the night of 10th October 1996 by the Lord’s Resistance Army. The abductions brought the LRA’s abuses of children to the attention of the world. The Pope, Nelson Mandela and Oprah Winfrey all appealed for the girls’ release.
St Mary’s College is a Catholic school in Aboke, Apac district in northern Uganda. At the time of the abductions, the school was a rumoured target for the rebels, and the Ugandan army had agreed to send soldiers to guard the school the night before the attack. The soldiers never arrived, but in the early hours of the morning, the rebels did. They broke into two dormitories, where they abducted, raped and looted. Some of the rebels were the boys who had been abducted from the Sir Samuel Baker School in Gulu district just two months earlier.
At dawn, the deputy head teacher, Sister Rachele Fassera and a teacher, John Bosco Ocen, pursued the rebels. They caught up to them and pleaded for the girls to be released. The commander agreed to let them take 109 girls back, but selected 30 girls to remain with the LRA. These 30 girls were taken to the LRA leader, Joseph Kony. They became child soldiers for his army and sex slaves for his commanders. Out of those 30 girls 25 have returned, four are dead and one is still missing.
About Changing Horizons
Changing Horizons is a tour company which specialises in travel to sites of historical interest in East Africa.
Our tours take you to places that are identified with past events and experiences, such as sites of great discovery, like the source of the Nile, or sites of great sacrifice, like the shrine of the Christian martyrs.