Saturday, March 14, 2009

Salvation comes

Catherine Ajok, one of the 30 girls abducted in October 1996 from St. Mary’s College in Aboke returned this past week after 13 years in the captivity of the Lord's Resistance Army.

Pictured above in a photo taken by Martin Ssebuyira and published in the The Daily Monitor newspaper in Kampala, Ajok arrived in Uganda after being flown from northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.

“I’m very happy that I have returned back home," Ajok told the press. “I can’t say anything but I’m happy to be back home,” she added.

Ajok arrived with a child fathered by LRA leader Joseph Kony, she says.
However, she had not seen Kony for the past three months, she said, because she was considered a risk because she was caring for a young child and could slow Kony's movements in the bush as he fled the Ugandan army which is pursuing him.
After escaping in an attack on LRA forces, Ajok finally reached UPDF base after one month of wandering in the jungles of Congo. She was in the region of Doruma, which is west of Kony's base in Garamba National Park, and was part of a group led by Col. Binangi Swoop.
Ajok was found with her 21-month-old baby, Happy Odonga. “We were over 30 wives of Kony. About 13 had given birth and the rest hadn’t.”

Ajok was the sole remaining of the 30 Aboke girls who had been abducted by the LRA in 1996. All had eventually escaped, and reportedly two had died.

From the plane, Ajok and her baby Odonga, were whisked to an unidentified home in Kampala were she will get psychological treatment before being handed over to her parents.
Ajok, 26-year-old is the daughter to Dr Alfred Alyai and Lucy Namataka of Aboke in Apac district.
“This marks the history that we can’t easily forget, for shameless Ugandans to subject such beautiful young girls to abject sufferings,” said military spokesman Felix Kulayigye.

Ajok’s painful story begun on October 9, 1996, the night she was abducted along with 149 girls when rebels attacked their school.
The deputy head mistress of the college, Italian nun, Sister Rachele Fassera, went into the night in search of them, and eventually secured the release of all but 30 who remained with the LRA.
Now, her ordeal is over.

1 comment:

gilliesblog said...

This is truly amazing! A dear friend who I met on my last trip to Uganda was one of the head girls at Aboke. Fortunately for her, the morning before the attack she had a pass and had gone home to visit, thus avoiding abduction. But, the story she told us haunted me. I'm sure you've read the book Aboke Girls, but when I read that book, many of the girls my friend talked about were mentioned in the story. It was very haunting.