Lord’s Resistance Army & 4 beers

On Dec 4th, 2005 I was sitting in a local “pub” with some friends, relaxing on a Sunday afternoon. Suddenly a long exchange of gunfire erupted somewhere off in the distance. Not too distant cause it was very loud and everyone around started running. Had I not just finished four bottles of Ugandan Bell, I might have been a lot more startled than I was at the time.

We quickly took ourselves back to the main compound and spent the rest of the evening wondering what was going on. For about an hour or so after the initial gunshots, sporadic firing in a number of different locations could be heard, but nothing quite as heavy as that intitial outburst.

Earlier it had been reported that 28 Lord’s Resistance Army fighters were spotted in a location about 10 kilometers from Maridi town. The SPLA (sudan people’s liberation army) attempted to apprehend them but were unable too. The LRA made a big circle, avoiding areas with soldiers near them to work their way into the outskirts of Maridi town.

Snippets of this information had filtered through all evening, but nothing was confirmed. Not too many people slept well that night. Myself, I slept like a baby. Think it had something to do with the beer.

The next morning we were told that a group of Lord’s Resistance Army fighters came within the area of Maridi town, looted a compound run by ZOA, stole their radio, and ran off with a few other things. The gunshots were probably the LRA firing to scare people away and cause confusion. They abducted at least 4 people to use as porters for the stolen items. They came in very quickly, got what they were after and then disappeared.

No one had any idea where those guys went or what they might be up to next. A colleague thought they wouldn’t attack the town or come this way again. He said civilians were tired of being disturbed, everyone of them had a weapon, and they were ready to use it.