In Uganda, the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) is demanding an extension of the recent truce signed between it and the government. The LRA says this will allow its units time to re-locate to their preferred assembly point near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan. The request was contained in a letter presented to the government yesterday.
Kirunda Kivajinja is Uganda’s minister of information. He spoke with VOA English to Africa reporter Peter Clottey about the request by the rebel LRA.
“Now, that can only be understood in the context that since the president flew into Juba, they must have had some hard talks. And at least the LRA said they were not responsible for the ambushing of the bus that killed a lot of civilians. And it is in that mood that they said okay we are serious only give us more time. So that this time, we assemble and resolve the issues,” he said.
Kivajinja explains what the Ugandan government intends doing about the LRA demands.
“Well, we are on the conference table, we are not moving. And we have said we shall take as long as possible so long as we see the prospect of having a comprehensive peace,” he noted.
He continues, “At the peace table normally, sides trade demands. And some may be unrealistic and some may be within the ambit of mutual agreement. But as far as we are concerned, the others, which they are demanding, those have been resolved because we have a constitution in place; we have a program of rehabilitating the north when peace finally comes. And those are not issues; the main issue is for the cessation of the war.”
He explains President Museveni’s recent trip to Juba, where he held a close door meeting with the mediator of the peace talks and the LRA delegates.
“As far as Uganda is concerned, that shows a determination by the president to actually even go out of his way to make sure that things move the way they should move. It has been received positively here,” he said.
Kivajinja says the more than two-decade conflict in northern Uganda would come to an end when the rebels decide to assemble and cease all hostilities.
“When they ultimately assemble and then we begin just working on the modalities of what to do, with the soldiers and what nots, then the whole thing will be put to rest. And I think at that material time, there will be no more fighting…” he said.
Kivajinja also had a message for the LRA rebels.
“The message is that, we have got all good intentions, and we insist that they should take advantage of this soft landing. The rest, I don’t think it is a viable option on their side,” he said.
Meanwhile, Ugandan sources say mediators have stepped up efforts in correcting the loopholes in the strained Cessation of Hostilities Agreement, which, reports suggest, both the government and the rebel LRA have flouted.
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