Uganda Lord’s Resistance Army rebels (LRA) say they have left two of the assembly points in southern Sudan, which were set up during a recently signed truce with the Ugandan government. Vincent Otti, the second in command of the LRA, said he instructed the rebels to leave because the government failed to keep its word on the agreement. He also said he will not extend the cessation of hostilities agreement with the government, describing it as useless.
Otti tells the Voice of America that it was of no use for the rebels to stay in the assembly point.
“To the eastern side of the Nile that is Owini-Kibul, my people did not assemble there because they were surrounded by government forces. And I told them to leave the place. They left the place because security was bad. But from our side, we left the place because we reject Southern Sudan capital, Juba, and that is why we also left,” he said.
Otti said it does not do the rebels any good to continue with the signed peace when they are not wanted in Juba.
“It was of no use for us to stay there in Juba as far as the Southern Sudan government president said that he was no longer ready to host us there. And that is why we left the place in Southern Sudan or Juba,” he said.
Otti said he would not extend the agreement because there is no reciprocity with the Uganda government.
“The cessation of hostilities is completely of no use because the government has violated it completely while fighting my people. The government started violating the truce by surrounding my people and fighting them. We cannot keep on waiting for them to come and fight us and that is why we evacuated the place,” Otti noted.
He explained why the cessation of hostilities is of no significance to the rebels.
“The cessation of hostilities has no use because there was nothing different. Even if we sign or we don’t sign it, there is no change. It is not only disturbing for us but also for the Uganda government. You see, the government of Uganda says one thing and does another thing and you the people of the world keep believing what they are doing is correct,” he said.
Otti blames President Yoweri Museveni’s government for not wanting a peaceful solution to the conflict.
“They are deceiving the world by saying things that would be believed by the world but not doing what is in the agreement. Because why did the Ugandan government come to follow our people up to Sudan when we all agreed that we should leave and come to Sudan to the assembly point? It means they want the fight to continue,” he said.
Otti denied that there is confusion among the delegates representing the rebels at the pace talks, as has been speculated.
“That is wrong. I don’t know. I have always been in touch with my delegates and I don’t think there is any confusion among them. If you know there is something wrong, then you should ask them. But from my side I know for sure that there is no confusion. We are still in the position of talking peace, but all what we want is a change in venue and the mediator,” Otti said.