At the peak of rape, robbery and violent attacks, especially on women in Library Parish, Layibi Division in Gulu Municipality, the community was engulfed in fear and hopelessness. Women could not walk out of their houses past sun-set if they were to avoid rape and attacks. Those in business had their property and money robbed even in broad day light by a known gang who threatened them with violence or murder. And yet both the police and local leaders could not help the situation.

On Saturday, April 20, Youth Leadership for Restoration and Development (YOLRED) organized a community dialogue, ‘Kabake’ where the community was granted a platform to share their experiences and derive a solution. The dialogue was attended by, among others, local council leaders, the police, child rights activists, business men and women, and the general community.

Mrs. Beatrice Ayat, a member of the local council and secretary for community service and production, who represented the division chairperson,  said the situation in the area had gotten out of hand because the perpetrators of the violent crimes who started as children and would only steal from people, had grown up and gained confidence to attack directly.

Ayat said because of that, they would openly rob people or rape women and threaten them that they would be beaten or their houses would be torched if they reported anywhere.

“I am so thankful to YOLRED for organizing this dialogue. When we have a problem in our community and we meet and discuss, we can always find a solution,” Ayat said.

The officer in charge of Layibi Division police station, Assistant Inspector of Police (AIP) Wilbert Adekere, said as police, they have been aware of the insecurity in the area but could not take any action because no member of the community was opening up to tell them who the perpetrators were.

Adekere consequently invited members of the affected community to secretly walk into his office and tip him on any security problem.

Honourable Rose Aparo, a member of the local council, said she was going to forward the people’s plight to the council for discussion. She expressed confidence that the council would arrive to a logical conclusion that would save the community.

Mr. Odong Walter (We-yoo), the Community Sensitization Officer, said he was going to meet with the area Local Councilor One (LC1) and his executives to forge a lasting solution to the problem.

Collins Chwa Kisembo, the Counsellor and Monitoring and Evaluation Officer at YOLRED, appreciated the community for attending the meeting in large numbers.