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Ugandan Rebel Leader Delays Signing Peace Deal


Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony has delayed signing a peace deal with the Ugandan government.

Kony was expected to sign the agreement Thursday at a jungle clearing on the border between Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

However, chief mediator Riek Machar says Kony wants clarification on how Uganda's government will handle international war crimes charges against him and other rebel leaders.

Machar says he sent a team of elders to meet with Kony, and that the signing is now expected Friday.

Ugandan government officials say they are willing to be patient with Kony, but say they hope he signs the deal soon.

The peace deal is designed to end 20 years of fighting between the government and the rebel Lord's Resistance Army.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is due to sign the accord separately on April 15.

The LRA is notorious for raping and mutilating civilians, and for recruiting child soldiers.

Kony and three of his deputies are wanted by the International Criminal Court to face trial for the LRA's atrocities.

Uganda has said it will urge the ICC to drop the charges once the LRA signs a final peace deal. Kampala says the rebels would instead face a Ugandan justice system.

Kony has delayed signing the peace deal in the past because of fears he will be arrested. The LRA leader is usually camped at hideouts in Congo or the Central African Republic.

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

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