Global Policy Forum

Uganda Gov't Not to Resume Fighting LRA Rebels Despite Expiry

February 28, 2007

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has said the military will not attack rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) despite the expiry of the truce agreement. Flanked by the visiting U.S. General William Ward, Musevenisaid at a press briefing here late Tuesday that the Uganda People's Defense Force (UPDF) will not resume hostilities against the LRA believed to be hiding in the jungles in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and southern Sudan. Local media also reported on Tuesday that the army has received instructions not to resume fighting the LRA rebels. "The Uganda People's Defense Forces still supports the Juba peace process; we believe peace talks are the best viable option for northern Uganda and we have strict orders not to attack the LRA even when the deadline elapses," said UPDF spokesman Major Felix Kulayigye.

The government and the LRA signed a landmark cessation of hostilities agreement in August 2006 and later renewed it in December last year. According to a December review which is set to expire on Wednesday, the LRA rebels in the east and west of the Sudanese Equatorial province were supposed to assemble in two designated southern Sudan areas before the expiry of the agreement. The rebels, however, have declined to assemble in the two areas and pulled out of the talks with the Ugandan government in southern Sudan's capital of Juba, demanding a new mediator and venue. The rebels said they scattered their forces in southern Sudan and the DRC out of security concerns and will not resume talks unless their demands are met, which the government has roundly rejected. At the weekend, the LRA negotiation team in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya, issued a statement distancing themselves from comments by LRA deputy commander Vincent Otti, who called for war after the expiry of the truce agreement.

The talks have been seen as a chance to end two decades of LRA insurgency in northern Uganda that has left tens of thousands of people dead and over 1.4 million others homeless.

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