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Attack On LRA:STATEMENT TO PARLIAMENT ON STATUS OF THE PEACE TALKS BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA AND THE LORDS RESISTANCE ARMY (LRA)

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Defence Minister Full Statement to Parliament on the Military Operation in DRC

STATEMENT TO PARLIAMENT ON STATUS OF THE PEACE TALKS BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA AND THE LORDS RESISTANCE ARMY (LRA)

Presented by Minister of State for Defence Ruth Nankabirwa

Mr. Speaker Sir,  Hon. Members,

1. You will recall that on 26th August 2006, Government and the LRA signed the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement under which the LRA were to assemble in two places, Owiny-Ki-Bul in Eastern Equatoria and Rwikwangba in Western Equatoria. On 14th April 2007, following LRA’s failure to assemble in any of the two areas, the parties agreed that LRA assembles in Rwikwangba, Western Equatoria, Southern Sudan.

2. The LRA has not, up to now, assembled. Instead, they have continued killing innocent Congolese and Sudanese citizens, abducting and forcefully conscripting into their fcrce.

3. Colleagues will also recall that 10 April, 2008 was agreed and set as the date for signing of the Final Peace Agreement. Joseph Kony never showed up on that day for the ceremony. H.E. President Museveni on his part, travelled to Juba as previously scheduled.

4. After a number of consultations, Cultural, Religious and Political Leaders travelled on appointment, to Rikwangba to meet Joseph Kony. They stayed there for a week and came back without Kony showing up. After this, the Peace Talks stalled.

5. Eventually, the Chief Mediator, H.E. Riek Machar, Vice President of the Government of Southern Sudan, supported the UN SecretaryGeneral’s special Envoy to the LRA affected Areas, convened a Stakeholders Meeting in Kampala on 5 November 2008. The Meeting was attended by a delegation of Southern Sudan Officials, the African and International delegates observing the Peace Process, the delegations of the LRA and the Government of Uganda, Political, Cultural and Religious Leaders and Civil Society Representatives and Uganda’s Development Partners.

During this meeting, the Stakeholders strongly urged “the LRA to desist from carrying out any further attacks, and unconditionally sign the final peace agreement before the end of November 2008” The LRA was further urged “to assemble in accordance with the Provisions of the Agreement and thereafter ensure the earliest release of children in accordance with clause 2.11 of the Agreement on Disarmament Demobilization and Reintegration “)

6. After consultations that were held between the LRA, the Office of the UN Special Envoy, the Government of Southern Sudan and Uganda Government, November 29th was set as the date for Kony’ s signing of the Final Peace Agreement. H.E. Yoweri Museveni was scheduled to sign the Agreement in Juba on Tuesday 2nd December 2008. Arrangements for the ceremony were made. For example, on LRA’s request, four truck-loads of food items were delivered at the assembly area for the Signing Ceremony. 8.

7. THE SIGNING CEREMONY THAT WAS SCHEDULED FOR 29 NOVEMBER 2008

7.1 On 29th November 2008 the UN Special envoy, the Peace Talks Secretariat, Cultural, Religious and Political Leaders, the Government delegation, African and other International delegates observing the Peace Process and some representatives of Uganda’s development partners traveled to Nabanga on the way to Rikwangba, the LRA assembly area where the ceremony was scheduled to take place.

7.2 After a lot of hardships, the LRA delegation, Cultural, Religious and Political Leaders met Joseph Kony and some Members of the LRA High command. Those  who  went  for these  meetings reported embarrassing and degrading treatment by the LRA. They were subjected to body searches and many of their valuables e.g. spectacles, watches, money, mobile phones, hankies, rosaries, wedding rings e.t.c. were taken away. Some of these items were not returned. They also reported that the LRA alleged that they were not aware of the Final Peace agreement signing ceremony.

Given this state of affairs, a combined Force of UPDF, SPLA and the Congolese Government Forces (FARDC), on Sunday 14th December 2008, launched an air strike against LRA Camps in Garamba. All the attacks were on target. UPDF shall however give details later, the operation in continuing. The aim is to force Joseph Koriy to go to the assembly area and to sign the Agreement.

We are grateful for the support of the DRC and Southern Sudan that have allowed us to use the airport for refueling and as staging points for operations. The operation was agreed upon and coordinated at the highest political levels of the three countries.

We advise Joseph Kony to go to Rwikwangba Assembly Area. If he does so, nobody will attack him there. We also call on him to sign the Agreement and to release all the children, a demand he has been ignoring.

Mrs. Speaker sir and Hon. Members, I wish to conclude by assuring all Ugandans that the prevailing peace in Northern Uganda will not be disturbed.

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Written by torit1955

December 17, 2008 at 9:43 am

Posted in Conflit Resolution and Security

Tagged with ,

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