Trust Funds for Victims Boosts Treatment of Trauma in Uganda




Victims of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) conflict in Northern Uganda who are still suffering from untreated trauma can now find specialized treatment in the region, thanks to the Trust Funds for Victims.

Five years ago, the Trust Funds for Victims engaged the school of Psychology at Makerere University and the Center for Victims of Torture, to build the capacity of psycho-social counselors to respond and treat victims of the conflict experiencing recurrent post-traumatic stress disorder.

Scott Bartell, the Programs Manager of the Trust Funds for Victims in Uganda says the capacity building program was introduced after a baseline survey indicated inert lack of trauma counselors in the conflict affected region. He said what the baseline discovered was the presence of counselors with basic social background without required skills for diagnosis and treatment of trauma.

Scott says the counselors have been deployed in hospitals and clinics set up in offices of implementing partners in Northern Uganda and has treated several victims. He says for trauma to heal; the clients have to make at least 15 visits to the clinics.

Scott says the program continues to build the practical capacity of Makerere University students in Clinical diagnosis and treatment of Trauma in most communities in Northern Uganda.

Scott says they are interested in building the capacity of local institutions in order to sustain the assistance in place since treatment of trauma often takes many years to conclude.

Recently, the University of the Sacred Heart in Gulu introduced a program to train more psychological trauma counselors to deal with untreated wounds of the Lord's Resistance conflict.

Archbishop John Baptist Odama, the Chancellor of the University said the training is essential in improving the quality of the human resources in the post conflict region. He said all families in the area require routine counseling to fully recover from the effects of the conflict.

To increase access to such counselors, archbishop Odama directed all schools and religious institutions founded by the Catholic Church to nominate and sponsor a student for such a training program.

The more than two decades of conflict in Northern Uganda started in 1987. The United Nations estimate that it killed 10,000 people and displaced more than 1.2 million others. The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), the rebel group behind the conflict gained notoriety for abductions of children to replenish its fighting force.

The UN Agency UNICEF estimates that 60,000 children were abducted and conscripted into fighters while others were used as porters to carry loot and sex slaves. Today, many of them have returned to live within communities they once brutalized with scars of the conflict - trauma - which manifests as night mares.


40 Netted in Impromptu Police Operation in Masaka



At least 40 people have been arrested and a similar number of motorcycles impounded during an impromptu police operation against lawless driving in Masaka and Bukomansimbi districts.

The motorcycles that were impounded for alleged failure to conform to traffic regulations include public hire and private motorcycles.

Lameck Kigozi, the Greater Masaka Deputy Region Police Commander, says some of those picked up were found with hooded jackets in violation of the ban announced by President, Yoweri Museveni that they are being used by criminals.

He says others were arrested for riding motorcycle with slanted number plates while others were found drunk with alcohol.

Following the assassination of the former Arua Municipality Member of Parliament, Ibrahim Abiriga on June 08th 2108, President Museveni banned motorcycle riders from wearing hooded jackets.

He reiterated the directive following the assassination of former Buyende DPC, Muhammad Kirumira last week.

But Yasini Ssennabulya, the Chairperson Masaka Municipality Boda Boda Cyclist Association accuses police of conducting operations with intentions of profiteering from it.

He has threatened to mobilize the riders to protest what he described as harassment.

In a related development, Kigozi has complained about the low turn up of owners of sport-motorcycles for registration. According to Kigozi, they have only registered 13 sport-motorcycles since the president ordered the registration of the motorcycles last week.


Makerere University Student Allegedly Commits Suicide




Police at Makerere University is investigating an alleged suicide by a second year student identified as Joshua Ajuna, a resident of Nsibirwa Hall.

Ajuna was found lying on his bed in Nsibirwa Hall lifeless on Sunday night at around 2000hrs with foam coming out of his mouth by his room mates who immediately informed Police.

According to the Kampala Metropolitan Police spokesperson Luke Owoyesigyire, scene of Crime officers who visited the scene recovered a bottle of suspected Poison and two handwritten notes.

"Currently we are suspecting that it was a suicide but that does not mean that there are no investigations on-going. The case is being investigated and inquiries ongoing," Owoyesigyire told PRIME RADIO.

The bottle and it's content have been sent to the Government Analytical Laboratory for analysis.

Police said the two notes believed to be suicide notes whose contents are yet to be released will be handed to a handwriting expert to compare the handwriting with that of books found in the Ajuna's room.

The body of the deceased has been taken to the city mortuary for postmortem .

Recently released Police Annual Crime report indicates that a total of 95 people committed suicide using poison in 2017, while 133 cases were recorded in 2016.


Over 400 Youths Recruited to Boost Vanilla Protection under UPDF




More than 400 youths have so far been recruited to join the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces-UPDF under a special arrangement for the protection of vanilla farms in Buikwe District.

The recruitment follows a directive by president Yoweri Museveni in response to a request by Vanilla farmers for a special group to guard against vanilla theft. Under the new arrangement, the Uganda Peoples Defence forces will recruit about 600 youths from the district, train them and equip them with firearms.

Buikwe is one of the districts in the central region where vanilla production is gaining prominence as a major source of income, and whose production has contributed to Uganda's position as the fourth-biggest vanilla exporter in the world.

Vanilla is now the second-most expensive spice in the world, after saffron with global prices now standing at USD 56 (212,000) per kilo of green vanilla beans and close to USD 700 (2.6 million Shillings), per Kilogramme for processed vanilla, according to figures recently released by Aust & Hachmann Canada, a Montreal-based vanilla importing company affiliated with the oldest vanilla importers in the world.

According to the Uganda Export Promotion Board, Uganda's annual vanilla shipments ranged from 0.65 tons to 75.4 tons between 2011 and 2016. It is also projected that Uganda's production would grow to about 100 metric tons this year, with a potential to double the production in the near future.

However, the production is threatened by an increase in the thefts, which have forced farmers to hire guards equipped with guns, bows and arrows and machetes to protect the crop. But President Yoweri Museveni has since directed that a special group be recruited, trained and remunerated by the UPDF, to protect the crop against thefts.

According to Lt. Col. Felix Nyero, a UPDF training officer in charge of the recruitment drive held at Mehta football pitch in Lugazi municipality, the drive which ends tomorrow is targeting young men and women aged 18-30, who have completed the ordinary level of education.

Intelligence Officer Lt Col Edward Mutaawe says that after the recruitment, the youths will be taken for thorough military training over the next four months.

Buikwe Resident district Commissioner Fred Bamwine is optimistic that the special arrangement will end vanilla thefts which had threatened the production of vanilla in the country.

Yekobowamu Lwamafa, a vanilla farmer in the area welcomed the initiative as a ray of hope for farmers, whose efforts were all going to waste as a result of rampant threats, some of which, ended in loss of life.

Processed Vanilla is used in the production of flavored foods and beverages, as a flavoring in syrups used in making medications and a fragrance in perfumes. Vanilla, also plays a supporting role, adding creaminess to other flavors, such as chocolate.


UNRA Signs Tender Contract For Kampala Flyover




Uganda National Roads Authority-UNRA has contracted Japanese firm, Shimizu-Konoike JV for the first lot of the Kampala Flyover project. The UNRA Executive Director, Allen Kagina, says construction is expected to start in January, 2019.

The first lot of the project that will cost Uganda Shilling 300 billion will be funded jointly by government and Japan through Japan International Corporation Agency (JICA).

UGX 239 billion of the UGX 300 billion will come from Japan while Uganda will top up the remaining UGX 61 billion. The first lot covers Clock tower, Shoprite and Nsambya road junctions.

There will be a flyover at Clock Tower covering 0.5km. The roads which, will be upgraded and widened are Queensway, widening (0.5km), Entebbe road widening and improvement (0.2km), Nsambya road widening (0.4km), Mukwano road widening (0.9km), Gaba road widening (0.5km).

The first lot also includes pedestrian bridges at Clock tower, Shoprite and Kibuli junction upgrading at Shoprite and Clock Tower as well as the construction of a 0.4km Nsambya underpass.

Kagina said 65 percent of the land needed for the project has been secured. The project is expected to alleviate traffic congestion within the Kampala Central Business District and Greater Kampala Metropolitan Area.

The second lot that will focus on Kitgum road junction will be tendered out separately due to need to first update the design to harmonise with the Standard Gauge Railway design. According to Kagina, the tendering process will start next year when JICA approves additional funding.


Police Resumes Feeding Low Ranking Officers




Uganda Police Force has resumed feeding low ranking personnel two years after it stopped.

Police stopped feeding low ranking personnel in 2016 with the exception of Field Force Police (FFP) personnel citing lack of funds to buy food.

However, police management resolved early this year to resume feeding all low ranking officers both in the field and at their duty stations effective this financial year.

The standing orders provide for feeding of police officers below the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police- ASP.

Officers at the rank of Assistant Superintendent of Police and above receive feeding and housing allowances on top of their salaries. The feeding allowance is Shillings 15,000.

The low ranking officers are entitled to breakfast and Lunch. However, most of the lunch comprising of posho and beans and on special occasions rice and beef.

Those on special duty get breakfast, lunch and supper as well as water and dry ration comprised of biscuits, baked beans and beef.

The Deputy Police Spokesperson, Patrick Onyango, says all officers on duty are already receiving meals.

Asked why they don't take advantage of the low cost of maize, which is going up for as low as Shillings 150, a kilogram and stock up for future use, Onyango, said they don't have storage facilities.

Currently, police buys a Kilogram of maize flour at Shillings 2000 from its suppliers.



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