When you think of attacks in northern Uganda, the Lord’s Resistance Army and their bitter three decade war comes to mind. However, the LRA are far from the first to wage war in the north.
The Arab slave traders ventured into this part of the world in the 18th and 19th century, capturing men women and children, and forcing them to march to coast, from where they would be sold, never to see their homeland again.
In modern day Acholiland, the Arab traders built a fort on top of Ocecu Hill. The fort was named Patikio, and it is here that slaves from the surrounding areas were brought. The healthy slaves would begin their long and arduous journey through the Sudan to Egypt from the fort, and the less fit and able slaves would be executed there.
Sir Samuel Baker arrived at the Fort in 1872, sent by the khedive of Egypt to suppress the slave trade and annex the Nile. He crushed the slave trade in the area – a move is fondly remember for in northern Uganda – and took over the fort himself.
Baker created the province of Equatoria in 1870, and a large part of what is now northern Uganda was annexed as part of Equatoria province. Indeed, it did not become part of the Protectorate of Uganda until the second decade of the twentieth century.
After independence, the north suffered the brunt of post independence violence, as both Milton Obote and Idi Amin were from northern regions (albeit different parts), and as they struggled for power, they would persecute their predecessor’s tribe. It was from these cycles of violence that the LRA arose thirty odd years ago, and, although they left Uganda over ten years ago, their mark remains.