Reorientations
U N F I N I S H E D R E A L I T I E S
SORROW AND LAUGHTER
In mid-2003, rebels were present in ten districts, all over northern
Uganda. The Ugandan army’s Iron Fist operations in southern
Sudan and the rebels’ counterattacks in northern Uganda made
the situation tense. The rebels had increased their violence and
abductions to reach unprecedented levels. In early September, for
example, they ambushed a bus in Soroti district. Before setting the
bus ablaze, the rebels killed twenty-two passengers. The Ugandan
army, obviously edgy about the development, added to the vio-
lence. To give some examples: One night in late July, a pregnant
woman in Gulu town became seriously ill. Her adult son and
another man decided to help her get to the hospital immediately.
Without warning, as they approached the hospital, all three were
shot dead by patrolling army soldiers on the outskirts of Gulu
town. In Katakwi district, army helicopters mistakenly bombed a
funeral party, leaving nine people dead. Around the same time, in
Pader district thirteen civilians died when helicopters bombed
them as they were working in their gardens.
Yet another night, when Tonny was visiting Rufina Labol, his
mother, who lives in Alokolum some miles outside Gulu town,
nearby gunshots suddenly rocked the night. Tonny immediately
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