The Egypt Air flight from LaGuardia was delayed six hours for mechanical trouble, but the real trouble came at customs. The official scanned her passport, held it up against a clipboard.
“Excuse me, Miss,” he said, and disappeared through a door.
He returned with two soldiers carrying machine guns. Amaka was led back to a small room where a Ugandan colonel sat behind a steel desk.
“You are Amaka Otti?” he said, reading her passport. “The daughter of Vincent Otti?”
“Yes, Colonel. Though I never met him.”
The colonel sighed, tapped his teeth with his fingernails. “And I suppose you are a student?”
“I was, Colonel. I am home now. I returned home to put my education to good use.”
“Home. Yes,” said the colonel. “You understand that your father was a monster? That he massacred the villages of Barlonyo and Atiak and many more?”
“I am not he, Colonel.”
Vincent Otti was born in the Ugandan village of Atiak around 1946. He joined the Lord’s Resistance Army when it was founded in 1987 and rose to the rank of Lieutenant General, the second in command to Joseph Kony.
In 1994, the LRA attacked Atiak, Otti’s home town, killing more than 200 people. Otti’s brothers reportedly fled the village after the family was accused of breeding a “killer.” He is alleged to have led the Barlonyo massacre in February 2004, during which more than 300 villagers were shot, hacked and burned to death.
In 2005, the International Criminal Court found that there were reasonable grounds to believe that Otti had committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, and issued a sealed warrant for his arrest. Otti was killed in October 2007 during a high command meeting that Kony convened at his base camp in Garamba, following a disagreement with Kony over the peace process.