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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Une trêve ougandaise pleine d’obstacles

by Camille Bauer

Uganda’s truce is full of obstacles

Translated Wednesday 6 September 2006, by Allen G Harris Jr.

After 21 years of conflict, government and rebels sign a historic accord and begin negotiations.

The Ugandan government and the rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) have taken a major step toward peace. On August 31, under an agreement to cease hostilities that was signed on the 26th and which came into effect on the 29th, the combatants of the armed group have begun to make their way to designated assembly centres.

Never since the mid-80s, when fighting broke out in northern Uganda, have attempts at mediation produced results such as this. The conditions are more propitious than ever. The LRA have been weakened militarily since 2005 when the Sudanese government in Khartoum reduced its support after signing a peace accord with the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM), another rebel movement. Sudan no longer needs the LRA to punish neighbouring Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni for supporting the SPLM. Moreover, the SPLM, which took the lead in organising and supervising the inter-Ugandan negotiations, exerted its own strong pressure. The former SPLM rebels now govern southern Sudan and must neutralise the LRA, who with their rear bases in the region, were the greatest source of insecurity.

After having concentrated on drawing up the truce, the next round of talks between the two sides, which resumed Aug. 31, reportedly will focus on the fate of northern Uganda. The LRA style themselves as the voice of the Acholi people who live in the region, even if they have been the main victims of LRA exactions. They have tabled demands for development and integration of the Acholis, who have been in conflict with the government since Museveni took power in 1986. In doing this, they are obliged to negotiate basic issues.

The International Criminal Court’s charges against LRA leader Joseph Kony and his top lieutenants for crimes against humanity also have a bearing on the process. Despite the amnesty promised by President Museveni, LRA leaders refused to travel in person to the negotiations. They were worried about their security as long as the ICC maintains the charges against them. Northern Uganda, where tens of thousands of lives have been lost and 2 million inhabitants have been displaced, hopes the fight against impunity will not threaten the first credible step toward peace undertaken in 20 years.

Camille Bauer

Translator’s note: For a related report published by the United Nations
press group IRIN, with key events since May of this year, see this site.

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