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Africa
Uganda rebels ready to 'start war'
The Lord's Resistance Army threatens new offensive if peace talks are not moved.
Last Modified: 06 Feb 2007 14:06 GMT
The Lord's Resistance Army began meeting the government for peace talks last July [EPA]
Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army has said it will renew its offensive against the government unless Kampala agrees to move peace talks to a new venue outside south Sudan.

The rebels say they will not return to talks in Juba, the capital of south Sudan, after the president said he would "get rid of the LRA".
If they cannot find another venue, then I will go back to my country and start war," Vincent Otti, the deputy commander of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), told Reuters news agency on Tuesday.

"We are ready to invade Uganda."
When asked whether the rebels would attack Ugandan army positions, Otti said: "Yes, we will."

South-Sudan mediated talks

The army, which has been fighting a bloody insurgency for 20 years, has been engaged in south Sudanese-mediated peace talks since July.

In August, leaders signed a truce, raising the hope that there would be an end to the conflict that has killed tens of thousands of people and displaced 1.7 million in north Uganda.

"If they come back, we are in our positions and we are ready to deal with them"

Chris Magezi,
army spokesman for northern Uganda
The Ugandan army said it was ready for an LRA offensive.
   
Chris Magezi, army spokesman for northern Uganda, said: "If they come back, we are in our positions and we are ready to deal with them.

"We shall hit them. When peace talks started, they were a spent force. Otti knows that [war] is not the best option for him. Their best option is peace talks."

Both sides have accused each other of violating the truce, but the stop-start talks are still seen as the best chance for peace.

The LRA, which has been accused of forcibly recruiting child soldiers and targeting civilians, suggested Kenya and South Africa as alternative venues, but earlier this week Nairobi ruled out hosting negotiations.
Source:
Agencies
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