Home | News    Monday 14 August 2006

Uganda asks foreign govts to help monitor Ceasefire

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Aug 13, 2006 (KAMPALA) — Uganda asked for international monitors Sunday to monitor any cease-fire it reaches with the Lord’s Resistance Army, which has led a brutal 19-year insurgency.

Negotiations between the government and the LRA are under way, but Uganda says it is waiting for a comprehensive peace deal before it agrees to a cease-fire.

Uganda’s Interior Affairs Minister Ruhakana Rugunda said he wants countries including the U.S., the Netherlands, Norway and South Africa to be on a monitoring team, as well as the U.N. and African Union.

The request is meant to "show the whole world that we are engaged genuinely in peace talks for an agreement to end the conflict in northern Uganda, so that our brothers and sisters in that region can live peacefully."

Also Sunday, Uganda’s defense minister confirmed that a rebel commander under indictment by the International Criminal Court was fatally shot by government forces over the weekend. Raska Lukwiya was heading one of the "small groups of LRA rebels who are still harassing people in northern Uganda," said the defense minister, Crispus Kiyonga.

He was shot after his troops killed a government soldier and a motorcyclist, Kiyonga said.

The Lord’s Resistance Army is made up of the remnants of a rebellion that began after President Yoweri Museveni took power in 1986. The group is known for abducting thousands of children and forcing them to become fighters, servants or sex slaves. Thousands of civilians have died in the conflict and more than 1 million have fled their homes.

The group’s political agenda is unclear, although leader Joseph Kony has called for Uganda to be governed according to the Bible’s Ten Commandments.

The ICC has indicted Kony, Lukwiya and three other top LRA commanders on war crimes charges.

Peace talks are taking place in neighboring southern Sudan, which is pushing to resolve the insurgency because it wants to secure its territory as it prepares for reconstruction after its own 21-year civil war.

(AP/ST)

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