UGANDA: Government and rebels extend ceasefire

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

The Ugandan government and the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) have extended a ceasefire due to expire at the end of November by three months to give both sides time to finalise a comprehensive deal to end two decades of devastating conflict.

The extension was agreed on 3 November in a landmark meeting in Kampala between President Yoweri Museveni and LRA negotiator Martin Ojul. It was the first time an LRA delegation had visited the Ugandan capital since the rebel group took over an insurgency in the north of the country in 1988.

The government’s chief negotiator, Interior Minister Ruhakana Rugunda, said the extension "obviously enhanced confidence in the whole process".

The LRA delegation was scheduled on 5 November to head for northern Uganda - a region that has borne the brunt of the conflict - for consultations with civilians.

There have been several reports of a rift between LRA leader Joseph Kony and his deputy, Vincent Otti, over the progress of the peace negotiations, where the key issues are post-war reconciliation and accountability for actions carried out during the conflict.

While LRA officials declined to comment on the reported row, a government statement fuelled speculation by saying: “If Kony is keeping [detaining] Otti, he should release him.”

Source: IRIN