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Claremont McKenna College

Publication Date

Fall 2009

Program Name

Uganda: Development Studies


Broad intentions

The people of northern Uganda face the complex challenge of reintegrating former members of the LRA rebel group back into their communities. One month of field research in Kitgum district was carried out to study the reintegration process of LRA returnees and the roles of various stakeholders such as government, NGOs, traditional leaders, community members, and the returnees themselves in facilitating the process. This paper also analyzes the impact of the Government of Uganda’s Amnesty Act on the return of formerly abducted people.


The research entailed the collection of both quantitative and qualitative information from various stakeholders involved in the reintegration process of returnees from the LRA. To gather qualitative data, the following research methods were employed: literature review, interviews, focus group discussions, observation, transect walks, and experiential learning. Relevant actors in the Amnesty Commission (AC), local NGOs, local community, and traditional institutions were consulted for information. One-on-one interviews and focus group discussions with over 50 returnees from the LRA throughout Kitgum district were conducted. Quantitative information was also retrieved from the interviews and focus group discussions and from the AC’s database. Both content analysis and statistical analysis were utilized.


Findings are divided into the following categories: the impact of Amnesty Act, the experience and role of returnees in reintegration, and the challenges of other actors in reintegration. The AC has played an enormous role in peace-building in Northern Uganda through collaboration with local actors. Both the AC and CPA use a grassroots follow-up system which has numerous advantages given the shortfalls of center-based follow-ups. Returnees from the bush experienced difficulties upon return in terms of relations with other community members and financial issues, but they have confronted these obstacles using various ways to rebuild relationships.


Peace and Conflict Studies


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