Ugandan residents affected by the
insurgency of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels are expressing fear that
their lives are in danger after regional forces attacked rebel held
positions. The residents in northern
Uganda say the recent attacks might spur the LRA to attack innocent civilians
and commit more atrocities. This comes after President Yoweri Museveni said
yesterday (Monday) that the
attacks on the LRA were successful. President Museveni added that his
government has no option left to resolving the over two decades of LRA
insurgency. Ruth Nankabirwa is Uganda's defense minister. She tells reporter
Peter Clottey from the capital, Kampala that the attacks were aimed to put
pressure on the rebels to sign a final peace deal.
LRA is a threat whether you attack them or not, they will kill and abduct the
children because that is their method of work. But we just want to assure them
(residents of restive northern Uganda) that I think what the region has done is
the best. The LRA has been hiding there thinking that they are in the world of
their own, disregarding the agreement, which we signed in Juba. Taking all the
time they want and not even showing any goodwill for example releasing of
abducted children," Nankabirwa noted.
said the region has had enough of the LRA insurgency.
what the region has done is that their base of the residents there would be
short lived. If Joseph Kony (rebel leader) is flushed out they will go back to
their normal life. But with Joseph Kony present in that area, they cannot be
assure of normal life because this terrorist group will always plan to disrupt
peace by killing and abducting people," she said.
said President Museveni's government is mandated to protect ordinary Ugandans.
are being assured and my government is working hard to make sure that the LRA
does not come back. Good enough that we have a good working relationship with
our neighbors in Southern Sudan and that gives us confidence this guy will not
come back to northern Uganda," Nankabirwa pointed out.
said Kampala is still open for negotiations with the rebel delegation despite
the recent attacks LRA positions.
objective of launching the air strike was to put pressure on Joseph Kony to
come out and sign. So, that means the road to the peace talks is not closed and
Ri-Kwamgba as an assembly area is still free. And Joseph Kony and his people
are being told to come out and assemble at Ri-Kwamgba. There are also other
three areas that have been identified where LRA will assemble and they will not
be attacked. But if they continue to loiter around beyond the gazetted assembly
area, then they will face problems with the regional force," she said.
dismissed as diversionary tactic demands by the rebels to have a new mediator
to the peace negations as well as a venue changed.
is diversionary and my government is not going to accept that. It is
diversionary and the document that we have so far produced out of the Juba
peace talks is the best document. It has been recognized by the LRA team, Dr.
Matsanga and his group and I don't think that they want to negotiate a better
document better than what Juba produced," Nankabirwa noted.
forces from Uganda, Democratic Republic of Congo and south Sudan launched the
attacks on 14 December against an LRA hideout in northeastern DR Congo. But
President Museveni said LRA leader Joseph Kony escaped because he had
eavesdropped on military radio communications and escaped just before the
The offensive was launched
after the rebel leader repeatedly refused to sign a final peace agreement with
the Kampala government
Meanwhile, the spokesman of the
LRA rebels said the rebel leader is hiding in the Central African Republic but
still holds out the possibility of a peace deal. David Matsanga said the rebel
leader instructed him to tell the world that he was ready to resume talks but
at a neutral venue either in Tanzania or South Africa or under a new mediator
to replace South Sudan's Vice President Riek Machar.