Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels have described as government propaganda reports that they have abandoned the adjourned peace talks in the Southern Sudanese capital, Juba. The rebels blamed President Yoweri Museveni’s government for what it described as negative media reports, which the LRA says is a calculated attempt to undermine the peace talks. The Uganda media reported recently that the leader of the LRA delegation to the peace talks received an alleged 200 thousand dollar bribe to abandon the talks, a charge the rebels denied. The talks between the government and the rebels are aimed at ending the over twenty-one years of rebel insurgency in northern Uganda.
David Matsanga is the technical advisor for the rebels on International Criminal Court matters. He tells reporter Peter Clottey from Juba that the accusations are baseless and should be treated with contempt.
“On the question of saying that the talks have collapsed is totally wrong. That is misconceived. We have not abandoned any talks. As we speak right now, we are in Juba on our way to meet our principals in Ri-Kwamgba to brief them on the consultations that took place in Uganda. And after that we shall call our people from Uganda to come for a conference in Ri-Kwamgba where our principals would brief them. So those who say the talks have collapsed are wrong,” Matsanga said.
He denied as unfounded accusation that Uganda’s government has bribed the leader of the rebel delegation to the Juba peace talks to abandon the talks.
“I have not seen anything of that nature. Those are actually reports that are framed, prepared and doctored by the government of the republic of Uganda in the newspaper that has actually been against the leadership of the LRA, especially, the reporter Fran Nyakaiho who has been very much against the LRA and the peace process. If you look at all his excerpts that he has been writing in the papers, his writing is negative, and I think the chief mediator should ban this reporter from attending any of our peace negotiations because he has been biased. He has been bought to derail peace process…those are baseless rumors that I have no facts about,” he said.
Matsanga also denied that the rebels have been involved in recent attacks in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“Those reports are baseless because once the LRA went into negotiations, it has never attacked any single human being, any soul, any fly anywhere in the places where they have been told to assemble. Those reports are made to derail the peace process. I want to reassure you that when we met President Chissano in Juba, in the presence of the Congolese ambassador who is an observer on the delegation, he categorically said there were no such reports. These are fabricated reports to create chaos in the peace process, to derail the peace process to allow the people of Uganda to suffer again for another twenty, thirty years,” he pointed out.