News

Emma's Kony horror

WAR CRIMES: Emma Ocholla wants Clarence Valley residents to support the social media campaign aimed at raising awareness of Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army. Photo: JoJo Newby
WAR CRIMES: Emma Ocholla wants Clarence Valley residents to support the social media campaign aimed at raising awareness of Joseph Kony and his Lord’s Resistance Army. Photo: JoJo Newby

WHEN Grafton man Emma Ocholla heard about the plight of his countrymen at the hands of Joseph Kony's Lord's Resistance Army on Thursday morning, vivid memories came flooding back about his encounter with the regime controlled by the world's worst current war criminal.

Kony's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) is a guerrilla group that has forced more than 60,000 African children to fight in a murderous armed conflict that has continued for more than two decades.

The focus of their private war has been in the border regions of Mr Ocholla's former home of northern Uganda, South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic.

LRA members have been accused of murder, rape, torture and sexual enslavement.

Media reports out of Africa say the LRA has massacred civilians inside churches, forced them off cliffs, burned them alive and even made them eat dead bodies.

In 2005 the International Criminal Court (ICC) named Kony the number one criminal in the world because of his crimes in Uganda.

Shortly after the ICC indicted Kony, he fled Uganda and officially has been in hiding since 2006.

Mr Ocholla said he strongly encouraged Clarence Valley residents to support a social media campaign aimed at making Kony 'famous' in order to raise awareness of the LRA and bring the indicted war criminal to justice.

"I am really excited about the social media campaign about the 'invisible children' that is spreading the word about Kony," he said.

"If I could get my hands on 'invisible children' posters I would put them up around Grafton."

Mr Ocholla said when he got word of the campaign, memories came flooding back about the day a bus he was in was captured at gunpoint by the LRA.

"When they capture you they pick the strong ones. If they know that you're weak they will shoot you," he said.

"I was on the bus with a pregnant woman next to me and the driver got shot - that's how they stopped the bus."

Once captured by rebels armed with AK47 machine guns, he said he was made to carry the LRA's bounty from robberies into the bush before undergoing a test of strength

"The way they test you is they make you fight someone ... Women get to pick a partner and they are assigned to that partner to fight for the rebels.

"If you are a man they make you wrestle with one of the women who were captured by the rebel group.

"If you fight her and beat her she becomes your partner to fight with in the rebel group."

Fortunately for Mr Ocholla, a member of the LRA who was a former classmate recognised him and let him and a woman escape the clutches of the LRA by advising them to walk through the bush to the nearest town.

Mr Ocholla fled his war-torn homeland in 2005 and has since enjoyed living in Grafton where he has his own business, IT and Video Solutions.

To find out more about the invisible children campaign, visit invisiblechildren.com.

The Guardian has an in-depth review of the accusations made against the invisible children charity and the complexity of the Ugandan situation.

Topics:  africa, joseph kony


Stay Connected

Update your news preferences and get the latest news delivered to your inbox.

McAleese closes Biloela depot, shuttle run

McAleese Biloela manager Mick Watson outside the soon to be closed Biloela depot.

Embattled transport company closes regional offices.

Biloela man pleads guilty after Kariboe St lie-down

The man pleaded guilty to charges of committing a public nuisance and obstructing a police officer.

Man pleads guilty to public nuisance, obstructing a police officer.

$1200 fine for Thangool man caught with marijuana plants

A generic photo of marijuana plants.

A Biloela woman also pleaded guilty to possession of an ice pipe.

Local Partners

Callide Dam gates pass safety test

SunWater says "everything went to plan" and the release was around 30 megalitres as expected.

Aviators ready for Thangool Fly-In

The Thangool Fly-In will feature displays and flights across the long weekend.

Three-day event expected to attract up to 80 planes.

McAleese closes Biloela depot, shuttle run

McAleese Biloela manager Mick Watson outside the soon to be closed Biloela depot.

Embattled transport company closes regional offices.

Biloela man pleads guilty after Kariboe St lie-down

The man pleaded guilty to charges of committing a public nuisance and obstructing a police officer.

Man pleads guilty to public nuisance, obstructing a police officer.

$1200 fine for Thangool man caught with marijuana plants

A generic photo of marijuana plants.

A Biloela woman also pleaded guilty to possession of an ice pipe.

SunWater to test Callide Dam gates

Callide Dam, May 2015 Photo Emma Clarke / Central Telegraph

Callide Dam will release 30 megalitres of water on Wednesday.

Cattle judging draws crowds at Moura Coal & Country Festival

Grand Champion Bull, Kenrol Jesseppi 2736 (left), exhibited by Kenrol Brahman Stud.

Kenrol Brahman Stud won Most Successful Exhibitor.

Magpie swooping season underway

Adam Burling is getting used to being swooped on his morning ride.

September is the breeding birds' peak swooping month.

Classic car auction draws buyers from US, Dubai

"He wants everyone to enjoy the cars, the collection got too big'

Jay Z signs two-year movie and TV deal

Rapper Jay Z

Rapper Jay Z has signed a television and movie deal

Nowhere to Hyde: Matt Nable is Australia's man in demand

Matt Nable stars as Detective Gary Hyde in the TV series Hyde & Seek.

NABLE returns to the small screen amidst busy film work.

Marvel's Luke Cage S1E7: Manifest review

Mike Colter in a scene from the TV series Marvel's Luke Cage. Supplied by Netflix.

*WARNING: spoilers if you haven't seen Marvel's Luke Cage*

Marvel's Luke Cage S1E6: Suckas Need Bodyguards review

Rosario Dawson and Mike Colter in a scene from the TV series Marvel's Luke Cage. Supplied by Netflix.

*WARNING: spoilers if you haven't seen Marvel's Luke Cage*

Marvel's Luke Cage S1E5: Just To Get A Rep review

Mahershala Ali, centre, in a scene from the TV series Marvel's Luke Cage. Supplied by Netflix.

*WARNING: spoilers if you haven't seen Marvel's Luke Cage*

Marvel's Luke Cage S1E4: Step In The Arena review

Mike Colter in a scene from the TV series Marvel's Luke Cage. Supplied by Netflix.

*WARNING: spoilers if you haven't seen Marvel's Luke Cage*

Beach-side real estate starts at $85k on Fraser Coast

HERVEY BAY REAL ESTATE: You can buy this townhouse in Scarness for under $300k.

Live your beach-living dream locally.

$40million hotel, shops development project for Mackay

Mt Pleasant hotel and retirement accommodation, proposed at 194-202 Malcomson St.

$40m development to take Mackay to 'the next level'

Property 200m from ocean selling for just over $100K

BEACHCOMBER PARK: Work has started on a new $19.2 million development at Toogoom.

The estate's developer is offering huge discounts for early buyers.

UPDATE: Former rodeo champ's sale rained out, now back on

Larkhill local Ken Consiglio is having an auction of most of the things on his property.

'People kept showing up and we had to turn them away'

First stages of $25 million housing development underway

New development on Madsen Rd - The Springs.

The blocks of land are much bigger than usual

Couple build their own 'tiny house' for $45k

Holly Bowen and Oli Bucher built their "tiny house" themselves, only hiring a plumber and an electrician. Photo/supplied

The house, which is built on a trailer and can be towed.