The Ugandan government is reported to be upset with the rebel lord’s resistance army (LRA) after the rebels announced they were pulling out of the ongoing juba peace talks to end more than two decades of unrest. The LRA accused the government of killing three of its fighters in an ambush. Internal affairs minister and leader of the government’s negotiating team Ruhakana Rugunda denies the allegation. He urged the rebels to focus on ending their rebellion. But Rugunda said the rebel’s allegations would be investigated.
“Well, we don’t have those reports of anybody being killed. But since a number of people have raised them, they are going to be investigated, secondly, the question of moving from the talks whenever there is a real or alleged problem is not the answer,” he said.
Rugunda said the government believes that all parties at the peace talks to should make every effort to conclude the ongoing Juba talks.
“We believe that when there is an allegation or an incident that is being talked about, it should be a reason for the parties concerned, to redouble their efforts, so that we can conclude the peace talks going on in Juba as quickly as possible, so that our people who are in camps can go back to their homes and their villages so that they can rebuild their lives,” Rugunda noted.
He said the current peace talks in Juba are on course and would be concluded soon, barring any hiccups.
“As far as we know and as far as government is concerned, we are indeed on course. We did agree mutually and the mediators that there was need to have a break to go and consult the principals. We have done this in Uganda, as a government delegation and Lord’s Resistance Army has gone to Garamba to consult their principals and we think this is good for the process that is taking place in Juba,” he said.
Rugunda said the Uganda government is optimistic in finding a lasting peace with the rebel LRA despite recent set backs at the ongoing Juba talks.
“We are confident that in the main, despite the hitches here and there the peace talks are on course and at the end of the day we will come with a peaceful conclusion that will end the conflict that has been taking place in northern Uganda and in southern Sudan,” he said.
Rugunda said despite mistrust and accusations of truce violations, the truce has largely held.
“The truce has performed well bearing in mind that there has been a long conflict. The fact that the Lord’s Resistance Army members were able to surface and move from Uganda and go to Sudan, the problem there is actually they have not properly assembled. I do hope that in due course, LRA would be able to assemble at the two assembly areas in southern Sudan… and we are monitoring it so if there are any weaknesses, those weaknesses can be addressed,” he said.
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