Extension likely for Uganda deadline

The deadline for a comprehensive peace deal between Ugandan forces and Lord's Resistance Army could be extended further if negotiations show continued progress, a Ugandan government official has said.

    Kony and other rebel leaders face war crimes charges

    Uganda's Interior Minister Ruhakana Rugunda said on Friday that the September 12 deadline for a final accord with the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) might be too soon for an agreement to be struck but any changes to the deadline will have to be set by the president.

     

    "We shall leave it to President Museveni to review the situation so that the process moves to its logical conclusion," he said at a news conference in Sudan.

     

    Museveni set September 12 as the target date for a peace pact after which an amnesty offer will expire for LRA's leader Joseph Kony and other rebels charged with war crimes by the International Criminal Court.

     

    Meanwhile, rebels have been given access to radio air time to communicate among themselves in broadcast messages.

     

    Safe passages out of Uganda have been provided, but the LRA have complained that they have been attacked while en-route, and could delay the peace talks.

     

    Colonel Tumusiime Nyakaitana has denied the claim, he said: "The LRA criticised the corridors, but there are LRA coming out and using them, showing that they are a success."

     

    "At present it is just a trickle, around 10 or 20 or so, but  they are moving," he said.

     

    A history of violence

     

    The LRA are accused of committing major atrocities, including massacres, rapes, mutilations and mass abductions during their brutal, nearly 20-year war in northern  Uganda. They deny the charges.

     

    There are 5,000 estimated LRA fighters. Many are considered to be illiterate and comprise mainly of hungry and desperate children cut off in remote locations in northern Uganda, southern Sudan and the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo.

     

    Meanwhile, Uganda has announced a $330m plan to help almost two million people displaced during its 20-year northern conflict.

     

    Government spokesman Robert Kabushenga said the resettlement money was being made available after this week's truce with the LRA rebels, the BBC reported.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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