Bill Oketch | Institute for War and Peace Reporting

About

Bill Oketch

Bill Oketch

I was born on December 25, 1980 in the village of Akuki in the Oyam district of northern Uganda. I'm the first born in a family of four children. Both of my parents are still alive, but two of my brothers were abducted in an attack by the Lord’s Resistance Army, LRA, in 1998 and my uncle was executed. My village was destroyed by the rebels in the same year.<br /><br /><br /><br /> The day that changed my life forever was August 16, 1998. The LRA, whose leaders claim to live by the Old Testament's Ten Commandments, launched an attack for the sixth time on my village, Akuki - to the northwest of Lira, capital of the northern district of the same name.<br /><br /> On this occasion all our cattle were stolen and my family's few possessions were looted. My brothers Tonny Okello and Geoffrey Odongo, then aged 18 and 16, were abducted and I never saw them again. Nine other boys were abducted and twelve of my villagers were killed.<br /><br /> I joined the media because I never wanted to have blood on my hands, unlike my fellow countrymen who joined the army to fight the LRA for the pain the rebels inflicted against our relatives. I joined the media after finishing my secondary education. That was in 2004 and I've been working for the Vision Group, a government newspaper company as well as for IWPR.<br /><br /> I've been using the knowledge I've gained from IWPR training sessions to write stories for my local newspaper. In 2008, I won an award from the BBC World Service Trust.<br /><br /> <br /><br /> My story, War Victim Seeks Justice for Dead Relative, was selected as best newspaper feature produced during the Communicating Justice follow-up training in Gulu from October 20 to 31, 2008. The training was sponsored by the BBC World Service Trust under their Communicating Justice Project. I was among the 20 trainees selected out of 500 applicants.<br /><br /> Of the IWPR stories I’ve produced, I'm most proud of Northern Aid Programme Probed.<br /><br /> The story led to the arrest of top district officials accused of mishandling rebuilding funds for northern Uganda. Part of the money has been recovered and an investigation is ongoing.<br /><br /> Being a journalist, to me, means committing yourself to inform, educate and entertain the public in the hope of creating a healthier world.

Stories by the author

Disputes over land in northern Uganda could fuel fresh tensions. (Photo: US Army Africa/Flickr)
Arthur Okot, Gillian Lamunu, Bill Oketch
26 Mar 12
Court case exposes shortcomings of legislation as property disputes threaten now-peaceful northern region.
Bill Oketch
20 Mar 12
Region is struggling to address numerous social and health crisis, and goading rebel group into retaliation could be disastrous.
Arthur Okot, Gillian Lamunu, Bill Oketch
15 Mar 12
Court case exposes shortcomings of legislation as property disputes threaten now-peaceful northern region.
Arthur Okot, Gillian Lamunu, Bill Oketch
15 Feb 12
Experts say Uganda could do more maximise economic opportunities presented by Africa’s newest nation.
Arthur Okot, Bill Oketch, Gillian Lamunu
13 Feb 12
As refugee agency winds up work, concerns persist over future of elderly people still unable to return to homes.
Arthur Okot, Gillian Lamunu, Bill Oketch
15 Nov 11
Granting of amnesty for alleged rebel commander may jeopardise other cases.
Arthur Okot, Gillian Lamunu, Bill Oketch
30 Oct 11
IDPs returning to former villages must travel long distances to health centres, but there's no guarantee they will be treated when they turn up.
Former child soldier, Juliet, speaks to British students about the plight of ex-LRA captives. (Photo: War Child UK)
Arthur Okot, Gillian Lamunu, Bill Oketch
18 Oct 11
Women and girls captured by LRA in northern Uganda struggle to settle back into former villages, while their children, often fathered by rebels, face complete rejection.
Arthur Okot, Gillian Lamunu, Bill Oketch
14 Oct 11
Women and girls captured by the LRA in northern Uganda struggle to settle back into former villages, while their children, often fathered by rebels, face complete rejection.
The High Court in Gulu where the Kwoyelo trial was scheduled to take place. (Photo: Simon Jennings)
Arthur Okot, Bill Oketch, Gillian Lamunu
3 Oct 11
Court officials say appeal against acquittal of LRA suspect may allow them to get protection measures in place for future trials.

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