LIVING AS A REFUGEE IN UGANDA: AN INTERVIEW WITH FATB KATILAN KHALID (2/5)

“I was born in Buta which is located in the northern part of Congo; near the border with South Sudan. When I was young, my sister got married in Kisangani, which is the provincial city of northern Congo. I was brought to live with my sister in Kisangani, that’s where I started school. But when the war started in Kisangani, and we ran back to Buta. It was in 1997 that we decided to run from Congo. Firstly, because my brother, the one who is here [in Kyangwali] now, was kidnapped, and was forced to drive rebels. So he disappeared, and we did not know where he was. I went back and started living with my mother, because she was now alone there, and so was I. My elder brother was not there and my father was also killed in the war, so I went to live with my mother. Then one night some people came and attacked us. We didn’t know whether they were government soldiers or rebels. They just came through the front door and started banging. My mother turned to me and said, ‘You run, but for me, I have nowhere to run.’ So I ran and she remained behind. I ran and hid somewhere in the forest but I heard her crying. I did not know whether they were beating her or if she was dying or what was happening to her. I was forced to leave her behind. I continued to run and then I found some people who were carrying timber, who took me up to Kinsangani, which is where my sister still remained. My sister was going to Uganda with her husband, because he was a Ugandan soldier [who was in Congo]. So that is we ended up coming to Uganda. We went to northern Uganda since we came with a convoy of Ugandan soldiers. We were taken to northern Uganda to fight against the Lord’s Resistance Army, the rebel group in the north. We again suffered the same conflict that we experienced in the Congo. We would live in one place for two weeks, and then be taken to another place. We continued to move from one place to another until my sister’s husband told me, ‘You will live in one place, so you can study.’ I started studying in Primary 3 class in Uganda, up north in the Oyam district. Unfortunately, in 1999, my sister’s husband, was taken to Bundibugyo in western Uganda to fight with another rebel group called ADF (Allied Democratic Forces), and he was killed. Then, I was just left with my sister. Life was not easy. I later got in touch with another man who was from my village, in Congo, who told me that my brother was in Kyangwali! Now there were two of us, me and my other brother Hamid. We came to Kyangwali and became refugees. That was back in 2001. So from 1997 until 2011, I was in Uganda, but I was not a refugee yet. It was in 2011, that I became a refugee in Uganda.”

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