Rebel priestess seeks Uganda return

The self-declared “priestess” who led a rebellion in northern Uganda in the 1980s wants to return home, the amnesty commission says.

Alice Lakwena led the 7,000-strong “Holy Spirit Battalion,” which was only defeated after marching hundreds of kilometres on the capital, Kampala.

She promised them that her “Holy Oil” would turn bullets into water.

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She fled to Kenya but some of her followers formed the notorious Lord’s Resistance Army, which remains active.

The LRA is notorious for kidnapping children and mutilating civilians.

‘Very healthy’

Officials from Uganda’s Amnesty Commission and cultural leaders from her Acholi people have visited her in the Ifo refugee camp in north-eastern Kenya.

Amnesty Commission spokesman Moses Drako told the BBC’s Focus on Africa that Alice Lakwena “in principle” wanted to return but he was not sure if she had submitted an official request.

Local press reports that she wants 110m shillings ($52,000) to return home.

Correspondents say that she mixed Catholicism with traditional beliefs.

Another Amnesty Commission official Francis Lagony said the ex-rebel, now in her early 50s “looks very healthy”.

“She should take up dialogue and reconciliation, so she can take advantage of the amnesty, which is still in force,” Mr Drako said.

The LRA was formed by one of Ms Lakwena’s followers, Joseph Kony, who says he wants to rule Uganda according to the Biblical Ten Commandments.

It has waged a brutal 17-year war in northern Uganda, killing thousands of people.

Millions have fled their homes and last year a senior United Nations aid official said the region was the world’s worst humanitarian situation.

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Apr. 29, 2004

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