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Besides security organs of the Ugandan Government, there are a number of armed groups operating with impunity in Kitgum and Kotido districts. These are the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), Boo-Kec (which means ‘bitter vegetable’), and the Jie and Dodoth warriors. These armed groups principally use AK47s, sourced mainly from Sudan. There is at least one gun per family of five among the Jie and Dodoth pastoralists. The human cost of small arms among the vulnerable groups of Kitgum and Kotido hasbeen high. Children have been particularly affected and traumatised by the insecureconditions in which they live. In addition to those who have been abducted, manychildren have been denied their right to enjoy a good early-childhood developmentenvironment in which they are given a basic education, access to health and recreationalfacilities, and good nutrition. In LRA attacks and cattle raids, children have been killedor injured in cross fire or burnt in houses. Those who survive are exposed to all forms ofchild abuse, hunger, and starvation. Orphaned children are more vulnerable to povertyand are forced into early child labour or are obliged to become heads of households at a young age.

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