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Ugandan Rebels Arrive in Capital For Talks


Delegates from Uganda's rebel Lord's Resistance Army have arrived in Kampala for talks

Delegates from Uganda's rebel Lord's Resistance Army have arrived in Kampala for talks aimed at advancing peace negotiations.

The delegation led by chief rebel negotiator Martin Ojul landed at Entebbe airport Thursday and was received by Interior Minister Ruhakana Rugunda before proceeding into the capital.

Ojul told reporters the rebels are committed to the peace process and reaching a final agreement.

This marks the rebels' first official visit to the Ugandan capital since the start of their insurgency some 20 years ago.

The rebels will meet with government officials, including President Yoweri Museveni, before embarking a nationwide tour to seek public comment on peace talks that have been occurring in southern Sudan.

The talks in Sudan yielded a ceasefire last year but have stalled over issues that include accountability for combatants who committed war crimes.

The International Criminal Court has issued arrest warrants for five top rebels, including LRA leader Joseph Kony. The rebels have demanded the warrants be dropped as part of any peace deal.

Rebel fighters are accused of killing, kidnapping, and mutilating thousands of civilians in northern Uganda. The conflict has displaced more than a million people in the region, although many have gone home in recent months.

Meanwhile, Lord's Resistance Army officials have issued fresh denials to rumors that the rebels' number two commander, Vincent Otti, is dead. Ugandan newspapers quote the officials as saying Otti is seriously ill with cholera and cannot speak.

Otti has not been heard from in several weeks. On Wednesday, Uganda's New Vision newspaper quoted a rebel operations commander, Opiyo Makasi, as saying there is a deep rift between Otti and top rebel leader Joseph Kony.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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