Uganda: November 13, 2004

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The Ugandan government and what remains of the LRA's leadership are once again discussing peace talks. There have been rumors since late summer than another series of peace talks was in the offing. On November 10 the Ugandan government said that the LRA had "communicated" to the Ugandan government in late October that it would consider talks if the talks were held outside of Uganda. Another statement (November 9) from one of the government emissaries said that the LRA leaders considered the Ugandan government's response to the peace bid to be "disappointing." That could be because the Ugandan government believes it has substantially destroyed LRA base areas in southern Sudan. The LRA requested that the Ugandan government give the LRA negotiating team passports and guarantee the team that its members could return to Uganda. This indicates that the LRA is indeed squeezed and its ability to move leaders out of northern Uganda through Sudan to a "third nation" is, at best, unreliable. Other reports indicate that the people of northern Uganda (particularly in the Gulu and Kitgum areas) will believe peace is at hand when they see some results. Several NGOs reported that every night thousands of people leave their homes in the countryside and seek refuge from LRA attacks in the towns (which usually have a garrison or at least a strong police presence). This has been going on for several years. One NGO with personnel in the Kitgum area reported that every night 15,000 to 18,000 people come into the town of Kitgum to escape the threat of LRA attacks and kidnappings.


 

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