There are still about 130,000 internal refugees living in UN camps in
northern Uganda. While 350,000 internal refugees up north have left the camps,
those that remain (and who were supposed to have left by the end of the year)
fear that there are still LRA bands, or just a lot of bandits, in the areas
where their empty villages are. Actually, there bandits about in the north, and
some of them used to run with the LRA. The UN is trying to raise $300 million
to run the refugee camps for at least another year.
23, 2006: The government believes that LRA leader Joseph Kony is willing
to face a trial in Uganda, in lieu of a trip to the International Criminal
Court (ICC). Kony's indictment is viewed by many observers as a potential
problem in the peace process. Making a deal with the ICC is difficult, but a
deal by Kony with the government (in regards to his crimes) is possible. Kony
has continually denied any wrong-doing. Kony regards the ICC as being "biased"
against him. Of course at one time Uganda's government was his sworn enemy, and
it was the government that pressed the ICC for the indictments. But political
maneuvering is replacing combat and it may take a "judicial deal" to keep the
peace process moving.
government has offered to send ten bulls to the LRA rebels in the south Sudan
assembly areas. The bulls would be offered as Christmas presents. Slaughtering
a bull and sharing in a feast is regarded as a statement of friendship. In
tribal peace negotiations among the Nuer and Dinka tribes (south Sudan),
offering a bull by the chiefs symbolizes public reconciliation.
21, 2006: Uganda has sent16 police officers to serve in East Timor as
talks between the LRA and the government resumed in Juba, Sudan. The south
Sudan government is mediating the talks.
20, 2006: NGOs operating in south Sudan and in Uganda have now had a chance to
assess the Uganda-LRA peace process. While peace is no guarantee, the consensus
view is that unlike earlier peace negotiations, this time both the LRA and the
government appear to be serious about reaching an agreement. That's in line
with a UN assessment made earlier this fall. The Anglican Church in Uganda has
continued to encourage the peace process. There is an interesting twist
developing as negotiations within Uganda expand. LRA leaders are reluctant to
attend peace negotiations because of the International Criminal Court (ICC)
warrants. The LRA's senior commander, Joseph Kony, is currently under
indictment by the ICC. Three other senior commanders are also under indictment.
Acholi tribal in leaders in northern Uganda are conducting some talks on behalf
of the LRA. Some LRA members have characterized the fighting in northern Uganda
as a war by Kampala against the Acholi. That characterization has some truth to
it. Many of the LRA's cadres came from the Acholi tribe, which is a dominant
tribe in the north. However, the LRA rebels also attack the Acholi. One read on
this is that a number of Acholi leaders simply want the war to stop.
18, 2006: The Ugandan government and the LRA extended the truce (Cessation of
Hostility Agreement). The truce period will now run through February 28, 2007.
With a few exceptions, the truce has held since it went into effect in August.
A Ugandan spokesman said that the LRA would have another month (presumably
January 2007) to continue to assemble in the south Sudan assembly areas of Ri-Kwangba
and Owiny Ki-Bul.