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Uganda Rejects Rebels' Cease-Fire Demand

Uganda's government has again dismissed a demand by the rebel Lord's Resistance Army for an immediate cease-fire.

Information Minister Kirunda Kivejinja tells VOA that a regional offensive against the rebels will continue until LRA leader Joseph Kony signs a peace deal the rebels have negotiated with the government.

On Tuesday, rebel negotiator David Matsanga renewed the LRA's call for a halt to the joint Ugandan, Congolese, and southern Sudanese offensive.

The operation, launched three weeks ago, targets LRA fighters based in the northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

Uganda's New Vision newspaper reports that 20 LRA fighters have surrendered and 10 others have been killed within the past few days.

But witnesses report continued LRA attacks on villages in Congo's Orientale Province, most recently on Sunday.

Officials say at least 18 people were killed when the rebels attacked a park ranger station for the Garamba National Park on Friday.

And, the United Nations says the LRA killed up to 500 Congolese civilians in attacks on two villages late last month.

The rebels have denied responsibility for the killings and blame some of the recent attacks on Ugandan troops.

The LRA has fought a 20-year war against the Ugandan government. The sides began peace talks in 2006 resulting in the text for an agreement. But rebel leader Kony has failed to show up multiple times to sign the document.

Meanwhile, the LRA has become a regional threat, accused of killings and attacks in the DRC, southern Sudan, and the Central African Republic.

The International Criminal Court wants Kony and two aides on war crimes charges. Kony has demanded the arrest warrant be dropped before he signs the peace deal.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP.