Australian missionary Christopher White wrote a blog post for Operation Broken Silence about his travels in South Sudan and impromptu visit to the former home of Joseph Kony. Kony occupied the residence for most of the 15 years leading up to the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between Sudan and what is now South Sudan in 2005.
Below is an excerpt and photos from his guest blog post:
Unmaintained for 7 years, the house has decayed to leave the base of each of the walls only two feet high. The Bishop explained how Kony lived in this house, surrounded by houses of his 20 concubines and the soldiers of the Lord’s Resistance Army. The LRA had terrorized this whole area of Sudan, from Uganda to Juba forcing young men into the army and abducting women and girls. All the villagers in the area had fled to IDP (internally displaced person) camps in Juba or Nimule.
One hundred metres from the house, we were shown a circular pit about four metres in diameter with clay around the edge and tall grass plants growing inside. With many villagers standing listening, the Bishop told the story of the 700 women and girls who had been abducted by the LRA in the area and the estimated 100 bodies that had been dumped in this pit. Village women need to walk past this pit to get to the village well.
It was amazing to see how the genuine grief at the tragedy which unfolded in this place, had not overwrought their eagerness and hope to rebuild their community.
Kubi, a place once haunted by atrocities and a hub for the deceased, was now in a stage of redevelopment. Locals know that development must begin with them and that it is fueled by education. Where there once was brutality and despair, there is now overwhelming hope. People are not defined by their past but by their future. To some, Kubi is known as a place where horrific atrocities occurred, but to the local community it is quite different. They are trying to rebuild their communities from the ground up, now that it is safe to do so. These areas are simply where they live, again.
[Photo Credit: Operation Broken Silence, Christopher White]