Atiak Survivors Demand for Specialized Hospital

2020 Views Amuru, Ethiopia

In short
However, close to 20 years later, many of the survivors argue that they have not recovered from the body burns, bullet wounds and scars they sustained in the attack due to inadequate medical attention.

Survivors of the Atiak massacre in Amuru district want government to set up a specialized Hospital to operate on them. On April 20th 1995, close to 300 rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army raided Atiak Trading Center in Amuru District and rounded up hundreds of residents, accusing them of failing to support their rebellion. They slaughtered 40 people and injured several others. 
 
However, close to 20 years later, many of the survivors argue that they have not recovered from the body burns, bullet wounds and scars they sustained in the attack due to inadequate medical attention. Some of the survivors still carry fresh wounds, bullet shrapnel, bomb splinters and broken bones, an indelible reminder of the deadly attack. 
 
The survivors require specialized surgery to remove the bullets, shrapnel, splinters, repair wounds and skin grafting in order to fully recover and live a normal life. Nelson Okongo, a survivor of the massacre says he has lived with a bullet on the left side of his skull since the attack 19-years ago. According to Okongo, the bullet has weakened his body making it difficult for him to fend for his family.
 
Okongo explains that he went to St Mary's Lacor Hospital and Kitgum Main Hospital but doctors told him that he requires a specialized surgery, which is not offered at the both hospitals. While pointing at the scar on the left part of the head through which the bullet entered his head, Okongo said ever since that fateful day, he feels feverish and unable to do heavy work. He asks ask government to help him get the specialized surgery to end the nightmare he has been through for the past 19 years.
 
Gilbert Olanya, the Kilak County Member of Parliament says the massacre survivors who are living with scars and various injuries have a unique problem. He has pledged to work with the central government to upgrade all the health facilities in the areas formerly affected by the war so that it solves the overwhelming problem.
 
According to Olanya, if central government had equipped all the health facilities with specialists and modern medical equipment as part of response to the recovery process, the survivors would have not carried the burden for this long time which has sometimes led to stigma and suicide due to depression.
 
He wants government to build special clinics at the return site under the Peace Recovery and Development Program-PRDP so that the war victims who have been impoverished do not move long distances in order to access such services.

 

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