Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



Major Professor

Tricia M. Redeker-Hepner

Committee Members

Rosalind I. J. Hackett, Raja H. Swamy


Hundreds of thousands of people were internally displaced in Northern Uganda during the war from 1986 to 2006. Tens of thousands of people died, and their bodies were buried in the displacement camps. Formerly Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) have returned to their home areas and the region is recovering. The former IDP camp has been elevated from a Trading Center into a Town Council and the general socioeconomic improvement of people living in it is improving. All this progress is being slowed down by IDP burials that were left behind by family members who were in Pabbo IDP camp. To explore obtain this issue, I used ethnographic participant observation methods to collect and analyze data during fieldwork. I carried out key informants' interviews and semi-structured in-depth interviews with 25 respondents to find out about their perspectives on burial, repatriation and reburial of IDP remains.The narratives of the people in Pabbo who participated in the study show that the living relatives of those who were buried in IDP camps may experience bad dreams, develop physical and mental illness and sometimes death resulting from IDP burials related to the spirits of those who were buried in IDP camps. According to the research participants, IDP burials hamper the use of land for development purposes and the local government‟s ability to improve infrastructure. It may make it impossible for landowners to sell their land at high values. When the landowner or those who bought land want to construct a house for residence or business purposes, they sometimes have to spend extra money to support the families that are not able to finance the cost of reburial. Pabbo Town Council also faces problems of IDP burials in terms of spending a lot of money on IDP burials compensation to meet the cost of exhumation and reburial. The people in Pabbo suggest that the solutions to the problems of IDP burials lie with the relatives of the deceased buried in former IDP camp and the landowners on whose land the IDP burials are located to finance reburial from Pabbo Town Council to their ancestral homes.

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