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Last Updated: Friday, 1 September 2006, 17:53 GMT 18:53 UK
Uganda cash help for war victims
Displaced Ugandans
Many of the displaced live in appalling conditions in camps
Uganda has announced a $337m (£177m) plan to help almost 2m people displaced during its 20-year northern conflict.

Government spokesman Robert Kabushenga said the resettlement money was being made available after this week's truce with†the Lord's Resistance Army rebels.

He told the BBC that the first priority was to give people seeds and farming tools before the planting season ended.

Most of the displaced live in camps, often in appalling conditions, in attempts to escape attacks by the LRA.

Uganda agreed to a ceasefire, which came into effect on Tuesday, on condition LRA soldiers assemble in south Sudan.

Peace talks between the rebels and army are taking place in Juba, southern Sudan.

Political participation, economic development and further help for people, including children, affected by the war will be discussed at the talks.

Rains ending

Mr Kabushenga said an initial sum of more than $9m was part of the government's emergency fund and would be spent over the next six months.

It's one thing to declare a plan; it's another thing to have the means to put it into effect
Norbert Mao
Chairman Gulu district council

"Opening roads and handing back security to the police, demining and dealing with questions of access to justice and issues of resettlement are all part of the emergency plan," he told the BBC's Network Africa programme.

But he said "enabling people to feed themselves" was a priority as the rainy season was about to end.

Some local leaders in the north are sceptical about whether the money is available.

"It's one thing to declare a plan; it's another thing to have the means to put it into effect," Gulu district's local council Norbert Mao told the BBC's Focus on Africa programme.

Displaced Ugandans queue for food aid
Many in the north are reliant on food aid

A resident in Lira, another area badly hit by the war, made a plea that any redevelopment money should go directly to those returning to their homes.

"Each resettled household should get two bulls, one cow and ox plough directly - this would help them to produce what they need," Julius Ochen told the BBC.

"On many occasions in northern Uganda intended beneficiaries have not got things and the money has ended up paying for expensive cars and allowances," he said.

LRA leader Joseph Kony and some of his commanders are wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to face charges including murder, rape and forcibly enlisting children.

The LRA has abducted thousands of children and forced them to fight since the conflict began.

Against the wishes of the ICC, Uganda offered amnesties to LRA leaders in exchange for the peace talks.


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