Sunday, November 30, 2008

Congolese terrorist group leader Nkunda threatens 'war' after taking border town of Ishasha, nr Goma, DR Congo

This is a vent. Why do reporters refer to Laurent Nkunda as "General"? Going by what I have gathered at Uganda Watch's sister site Congo Watch, he is a civilian criminal with a gang of terrifying gunmen and rapists.

In my view, Nkunda and his ilk are terrorists: terrorising, raping, maiming and murdering civilians, especially women and children, at random. They all belong in jail. I liken Nkunda to a deluded cult leader, like the drug addled Ugandan psycho LRA leader Jospeh Kony. Any evil psychopath with delusions of grandeur can get hold of a gun and call himself a General.

Look at the AFP photo here below, of Nkunda dressed all in white. Who does he think he is, the Pope or what? Why aren't the law enforcers sorting out these cretinous lowlifes?

How is Nkunda affording his luxurious array of expensive clothes and munitions? Why is he free to behave like an actor on the world's stage, lording it over the media like a pop star? Why aren't professional reporters telling us what is going on? So far, The Daily Telegraph's Africa correspondent David Blair is the only journalist giving us a clue as to what is really behind Nkunda.

If Nkunda and his ilk are not arrested soon for questioning, and put on trial to air and document their crimes, one might start suspecting that their backers are using power to influence the UN Security Council and, in the case of DR Congo, MONUC.

How else are Nkunda et al remaining free to do press interviews while roaming around with guns, instigating anarchy, rape, looting, pillaging, mass murders and environmental destruction, costing the world a fortune. What about the unimaginable misery and suffering of millions of poor defenceless locals and children. I wonder, who has such a power? I smell some rats.

Here is an excerpt from yesterday's BBC report, copied here below:
"If there is no negotiation, let us say then there is war," Gen Nkunda told reporters. "I know that (the government) has no capacity to fight, so they have only one choice - negotiations," he said.

"We asked for a response as to where, when, and with whom we are going to do these talks. For us, we propose Nairobi and for the mediator we proposed chief Obasanjo," Mr Nkunda said.
What a nerve! I say, the where, when, and with whom they are going to do these talks should be at:

THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT IN THE HAGUE, AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, WITH PROSECUTOR MORENO-OCAMPO.

And, while you're at it, take along other terrorist group leaders SLA's Nur, JEM's Ibrahim and LRA's Kony and get them to sing.

Obasanjo & Nkunda

Photo: Nkunda (in white) proposes Mr Obasanjo as the mediator of talks (AFP)

Vent continued. After 4.5 years of blogging hotspots in Africa, I am getting angry at continued reporting of neverending billions of taxpayers dollars being poured into Africa that ends up maintaining the careers of so-called "rebels".

African thugs without gainful employment are getting as media savvy as the Somali pirates. They pretend to be freedom fighters. All of them are only in it for themselves and the money. Their macho adventures attract so much media attention and publicity that they are being turned into celebrity heroes while they pose for photos with gun in hand, acting as role models for youngsters who may grow up believing that being a criminal is easier than doing an honest day's work to put bread on the table.

What has any of this to do with me one might ask. Ever since I was a child, I have given generously to a countless number of charities for Africa, especially Oxfam. Recently, I stopped donating because I no longer believe that the hard saved money I give is of any help. I am angry that a handful of thugs are using tax payer's money, garnered from the pockets of millions of decent hard working people, as a cash cow to milk and laugh at all the way to the bank while milliions of locals and children continue to be either raped, maimed, starved, murdered en masse or traumatised for the rest of their lives.

Genocide has become a rebels game. There's a method to their madness. I've tracked news on Sudan, South Sudan, Northern Uganda, DR Congo, Ethiopia and Niger for over 4 years, almost 24/7, and sense a pattern. The same thread of terror and land grabbing is running throughout those countries and, in my opinion, it all boils down to oil.

I say, arrest and question all rebel leaders, air and document their grievances and victims. Compared to the six billion other people on this planet, money grabbing power hungry lowlife terrorists are nothing but a handful of mosquitoes. Squash, get rid of them. They are infecting and killing the world. They are worse and more costly than AIDS and crazier than Al-Qaida.

CONGO REBEL CHIEF THREATENS 'WAR'

Saturday, 29 November 2008 report from the BBC:
Rebel leader General Laurent Nkunda has threatened war unless the government of DR Congo holds a new round of talks.

He was speaking after a meeting with UN envoy Olusegun Obasanjo in the rebel-held eastern town of Jomba.

Troops loyal to Gen Nkunda have been battling government forces in North Kivu province since August, forcing 250,000 people to flee their homes.

Two weeks ago Mr Obasanjo negotiated a ceasefire, but renewed fighting has since broken out.

"If there is no negotiation, let us say then there is war," Gen Nkunda told reporters.

"I know that (the government) has no capacity to fight, so they have only one choice - negotiations," he said.

"We asked for a response as to where, when, and with whom we are going to do these talks. For us, we propose Nairobi and for the mediator we proposed chief Obasanjo," Mr Nkunda said.

Government ministers this week rebuffed the possibility of direct negotiations with the rebel leader, calling for him to return to an earlier peace pact signed in January.

Emerging from his one-hour meeting, Mr Obasanjo avoided questions but said: "We have advanced the course of peace."

Mr Obasanjo - Nigeria's former president - is on his second visit to the region in two weeks.

He has been trying to broker direct talks between Gen Nkunda and Congolese President Joseph Kabila, but so far these have not taken place.

The UN envoy is travelling with former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa, who is representing the African Union.

"I'm going to listen to him," Mr Mkapa said ahead of the meeting with Gen Nkunda.

"I want to know how he thinks we can get the restoration of peace, stability and unity in this country."
Truce violated

A ceasefire declared by Gen Nkunda has halted battles with government troops and brought nearly two weeks of relative calm.

But his men have continued attacking Congolese and Rwandan militia allies of the government, sending thousands of refugees fleeing east into Uganda.

Gen Nkunda says the ceasefire does not apply to operations against foreign militia.

On Thursday, the rebels took the border town of Ishasha, about 120km (75 miles) north of regional capital Goma.

His Tutsi-dominated forces say they are attacking Rwandan Hutu fighters, some of whom are accused of taking part in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, in which some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were slaughtered.

On Friday, the UN began an operation to relocate people from camps near the front line.

Some 65,000 people displaced by fighting have been living only a few hundred metres from fighting positions in Kibati, near Goma.

The UN is trying to transfer people to safer locations west of Goma.
Virunga, DR Congo

FORCES AROUND GOMA

CNDP: Gen Nkunda's Tutsi rebels - 6,000 fighters
FDLR: Rwandan Hutus - 6-7,000
Mai Mai: pro-government militia - 3,500
Monuc: UN peacekeepers - 6,000 in North Kivu, including about 1,000 in Goma (17,000 nationwide)
DRC army - 90,000 (nationwide)
Source: UN, military experts (BBC)

(Cross posted today at Sudan Watch and Congo Watch)

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Congo terrorist group leader Laurent Nkunda threatens 'war' after taking border town of Ishasha, nr Goma, DR Congo

This is a vent. Why do reporters refer to Laurent Nkunda as "General"? Going by what I have gathered here at Congo Watch, he is a civilian criminal with a gang of terrifying gunmen and rapists.

In my view, Nkunda and his ilk are terrorists: terrorising, raping, maiming and murdering civilians, especially women and children, at random. They all belong in jail. I liken Nkunda to a deluded cult leader, like the drug addled Ugandan psycho LRA leader Jospeh Kony. Any evil psychopath with delusions of grandeur can get hold of a gun and call himself a General.

Look at the AFP photo here below, of Nkunda dressed all in white. Who does he think he is, the Pope or what? Why aren't the law enforcers sorting out these cretinous lowlifes?

How is Nkunda affording his luxurious array of expensive clothes and munitions? Why is he free to behave like an actor on the world's stage, lording it over the media like a pop star? Why aren't professional reporters telling us what is going on? So far, The Daily Telegraph's Africa correspondent David Blair is the only journalist giving us a clue as to what is really behind Nkunda.

If Nkunda and his ilk are not arrested soon for questioning, and put on trial to air and document their crimes, one might start suspecting that their backers are using power to influence the UN Security Council and, in the case of DR Congo, MONUC.

How else are Nkunda et al remaining free to do press interviews while roaming around with guns, instigating anarchy, rape, looting, pillaging, mass murders and environmental destruction, costing the world a fortune. What about the unimaginable misery and suffering of millions of poor defenceless locals and children. I wonder, who has such a power? I smell some rats.

Here is an excerpt from yesterday's BBC report, copied here below:
"If there is no negotiation, let us say then there is war," Gen Nkunda told reporters. "I know that (the government) has no capacity to fight, so they have only one choice - negotiations," he said.

"We asked for a response as to where, when, and with whom we are going to do these talks. For us, we propose Nairobi and for the mediator we proposed chief Obasanjo," Mr Nkunda said.
What a nerve! I say, the where, when, and with whom they are going to do these talks should be at:

THE INTERNATIONAL CRIMINAL COURT IN THE HAGUE, AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, WITH PROSECUTOR MORENO-OCAMPO.

And, while you're at it, take along other terrorist group leaders SLA's Nur, JEM's Ibrahim and LRA's Kony and get them to sing.

Obasanjo & Nkunda

Photo: Nkunda (in white) proposes Mr Obasanjo as the mediator of talks (AFP)

Vent continued. After 4.5 years of blogging hotspots in Africa, I am getting angry at continued reporting of neverending billions of taxpayers dollars being poured into Africa that ends up maintaining the careers of so-called "rebels".

African thugs without gainful employment are getting as media savvy as the Somali pirates. They pretend to be freedom fighters. All of them are only in it for themselves and the money. Their macho adventures attract so much media attention and publicity that they are being turned into celebrity heroes while they pose for photos with gun in hand, acting as role models for youngsters who may grow up believing that being a criminal is easier than doing an honest day's work to put bread on the table.

What has any of this to do with me one might ask. Ever since I was a child, I have given generously to a countless number of charities for Africa, especially Oxfam. Recently, I stopped donating because I no longer believe that the hard saved money I give is of any help. I am angry that a handful of thugs are using tax payer's money, garnered from the pockets of millions of decent hard working people, as a cash cow to milk and laugh at all the way to the bank while milliions of locals and children continue to be either raped, maimed, starved, murdered en masse or traumatised for the rest of their lives.

Genocide has become a rebels game. There's a method to their madness. I've tracked news on Sudan, South Sudan, Northern Uganda, DR Congo, Ethiopia and Niger for over 4 years, almost 24/7, and sense a pattern. The same thread of terror and land grabbing is running throughout those countries and, in my opinion, it all boils down to oil.

I say, arrest and question all rebel leaders, air and document their grievances and victims. Compared to the six billion other people on this planet, money grabbing power hungry lowlife terrorists are nothing but a handful of mosquitoes. Squash, get rid of them. They are infecting and killing the world. They are worse and more costly than AIDS and crazier than Al-Qaida.

CONGO REBEL CHIEF THREATENS 'WAR'

Saturday, 29 November 2008 report from the BBC:
Rebel leader General Laurent Nkunda has threatened war unless the government of DR Congo holds a new round of talks.

He was speaking after a meeting with UN envoy Olusegun Obasanjo in the rebel-held eastern town of Jomba.

Troops loyal to Gen Nkunda have been battling government forces in North Kivu province since August, forcing 250,000 people to flee their homes.

Two weeks ago Mr Obasanjo negotiated a ceasefire, but renewed fighting has since broken out.

"If there is no negotiation, let us say then there is war," Gen Nkunda told reporters.

"I know that (the government) has no capacity to fight, so they have only one choice - negotiations," he said.

"We asked for a response as to where, when, and with whom we are going to do these talks. For us, we propose Nairobi and for the mediator we proposed chief Obasanjo," Mr Nkunda said.

Government ministers this week rebuffed the possibility of direct negotiations with the rebel leader, calling for him to return to an earlier peace pact signed in January.

Emerging from his one-hour meeting, Mr Obasanjo avoided questions but said: "We have advanced the course of peace."

Mr Obasanjo - Nigeria's former president - is on his second visit to the region in two weeks.

He has been trying to broker direct talks between Gen Nkunda and Congolese President Joseph Kabila, but so far these have not taken place.

The UN envoy is travelling with former Tanzanian President Benjamin Mkapa, who is representing the African Union.

"I'm going to listen to him," Mr Mkapa said ahead of the meeting with Gen Nkunda.

"I want to know how he thinks we can get the restoration of peace, stability and unity in this country."
Truce violated

A ceasefire declared by Gen Nkunda has halted battles with government troops and brought nearly two weeks of relative calm.

But his men have continued attacking Congolese and Rwandan militia allies of the government, sending thousands of refugees fleeing east into Uganda.

Gen Nkunda says the ceasefire does not apply to operations against foreign militia.

On Thursday, the rebels took the border town of Ishasha, about 120km (75 miles) north of regional capital Goma.

His Tutsi-dominated forces say they are attacking Rwandan Hutu fighters, some of whom are accused of taking part in the 1994 Rwandan genocide, in which some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus were slaughtered.

On Friday, the UN began an operation to relocate people from camps near the front line.

Some 65,000 people displaced by fighting have been living only a few hundred metres from fighting positions in Kibati, near Goma.

The UN is trying to transfer people to safer locations west of Goma.
Virunga, DR Congo

FORCES AROUND GOMA

CNDP: Gen Nkunda's Tutsi rebels - 6,000 fighters
FDLR: Rwandan Hutus - 6-7,000
Mai Mai: pro-government militia - 3,500
Monuc: UN peacekeepers - 6,000 in North Kivu, including about 1,000 in Goma (17,000 nationwide)
DRC army - 90,000 (nationwide)
Source: UN, military experts (BBC)

(Cross posted today at Sudan Watch and Congo Watch)

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Saturday, November 29, 2008

Kony failed to sign a peace deal today

"Africa's children will only be safe when this mystical psychopath meets his well-deserved end", writes David Blair in the concluding line of the report copied here below. I couldn't agree more.

News has just come in from the BBC that mediators are returning to their base after Joseph Kony failed to sign a peace deal.

The mediation team is expected to return to the remote area near the Congolese border on Sunday to try once more to have the deal signed.

Full story BBC: Uganda rebel fails to sign deal.
- - -

Profile: Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord's Resistance Army
By David Blair, Africa Correspondent
The Daily Telegraph
November 29, 2008
When Joseph Kony's minions began peace talks with Uganda's government in 2005, their first task was to think of some coherent aims on behalf of their psychotic leader.

Joseph Kony

Photo: Joseph Kony is estimated to have abducted more than 20,000 children to fight as footsoldiers in the Lord's Resistance Army (Reuters photo)

Kony, who is about 47 and holds the distinction of being the first man ever to be indicted by the International Criminal Court, has waged war with no purpose since 1988.

He began his campaign in Northern Uganda, posing as a messianic figure who communed with holy spirits. The nearest Kony ever came to a political goal was a pledge to rule Uganda according to the Ten Commandments.

At the beginning, he won some followers largely because President Yoweri Museveni had ignored Northern Uganda and excluded Kony's Acholi people from power.

By 1992, Kony had staked his claim to be fighting in the name of the Lord by naming his movement the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA). But his rebellion amounted to a vicious cult, not a classic insurgency, and had no purpose save rebellion itself.

Consequently, no-one would volunteer to fight for Kony's non-existent cause, leaving him with little choice but to abduct children and force them to become his footsoldiers. How many innocents have suffered this fate is unknown – but the official estimate of 20,000 is almost a decade out of date. The real total may be two or three times higher.

The peace talks with Uganda's government have yielded a draft agreement, which Kony's representatives insist he will sign.

But a paper deal may not abate his murderous campaign.

Kony has been driven from Uganda, where no LRA attacks have occurred for almost three years. Instead, Congo's defenceless people are now his chosen victims.

Even if Kony makes peace with Uganda, his onslaught in Congo may continue.

Africa's children will only be safe when this mystical psychopath meets his well-deserved end.

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Thursday, November 27, 2008

We do not know who killed Garang – Pagan

Al-Intibaha reports [South Sudan's] SPLM Secretary General Pagan Amum’s statements in Cairo on the [John] Garang death have caused confusion among SPLM leaders because of the mystery that surrounded the death. “We do not know who killed Garang. We are still looking for the truth,” he said. Amum has questioned the findings of the committee set up to investigate the death. “The report presents questions rather than answers,” he added.

Source: UNMIS Media Monitoring 20 November 2008.

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27,000 Congolese civilians have fled into Uganda since August to escape violence in Rutshuru, DR Congo

November 27, 2008 (UNHCR) article by Roberta Russo in Kampala, Uganda:
Some 13,000 Congolese flee to Uganda as violence flares in Rutshuru

Thousands of civilians have fled to Uganda over the past 48 hours to escape fresh fighting and brutal attacks on their villages in the Congolese province of North Kivu by armed assailants. More are on the way.

UNHCR staff at the south-west Ugandan border town of Ishasha said that since Tuesday afternoon an estimated 13,000 Congolese refugees had crossed the border from the eastern province's Rutshuru district, including some 10,000 on Thursday.

The new arrivals bring to some 27,000 the number of Congolese civilians who have fled into Uganda since August to escape violence in the Rutshuru area of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Fighting between government troops and rebel fighters has displaced 250,000 people throughout the province since August.

The four members of UNHCR's emergency response team in Ishasha have been trying to arrange the transportation of the refugees to the safety of Nakivale settlement, located some 350 kilometres to the east.

"The stream of new arrivals continues. More and more people are arriving and we need to transport them away from the border to a safe place immediately," said Yumiko Takashima, the leader of the UNHCR emergency team.

A convoy of nine buses and one truck left for Nakivale on Thursday morning carrying around 1,000 people. A smaller first convoy left on Wednesday. UNHCR was hoping to transport several thousand more on Friday.

Most of the new arrivals at Ishasha have asked the Ugandan district authorities and UNHCR to relocate them to Nakivale. Some refugees who have entered Uganda further to the south have opted to stay with local host families because their villages are close by, unlike the arrivals in Ishasha.

The new arrivals told the UNHCR team members that they were fleeing fresh fighting around the town of Rutshuru, which is located some 70 kilometres north of the North Kivu provincial capital of Goma. The refugees came from Rutshuru town and the villages of Kafeguru, Kiseguru, Kiwanga and Kinyandonge.

Many people said their villages had been attacked and atrocities committed. "The assailants killed everybody in my village. They took the young boys with them and killed all the rest of the population. It's a miracle that my wife and I managed to escape," said 25-year-old Daudi, who walked 60 kilometres from the village of Kiwanga to reach the border. He added that one of his two children had become separated from the family during the chaos of their flight and he did not know if the boy was still alive.

Another villager, 20-year-old Jean, said he walked for three days to reach Uganda on Thursday. "The rebels attacked my village. They killed all the women, even pregnant women," he said, adding: "I'm exhausted. I just want to be safe."

With the latest influx, Uganda hosts more than 150,000 refugees, including over 50,000 from the DRC. Other refugees come from countries such as Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia and the Sudan.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

LRA's Kony to sign peace deal in Ri-Kwangba, South Sudan Nov. 29 says chief mediator Riek Machar

Kony signs peace on Saturday
November 26, 2008 (New Vision) report by Henry Mukasa:
LRA leader Joseph Kony

Photo: LRA leader Joseph Kony

LRA leader Joseph Kony is expected to sign the final peace deal on Saturday to end his two-decade long rebellion which ravaged the north, said the chief mediator, Dr. Riek Machar.

Addressing journalists in Juba yesterday, Machar said: “(Kony) said he will sign. Indications are that he will.”

Machar is also the vice president of South Sudan. “There will be signing on 29th [November],” the United Nations special envoy to LRA affected areas, Joachim Chissano, told the BBC.

Chissano, however, left room for disappointment considering that Kony has failed the peace talks many times in the past.

“I don’t have reasons to doubt that he will show up. I’m more confident than a few weeks ago,” the former Mozambique president said.

Chief Government negotiator Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda yesterday chaired an impromptu meeting with his team over the development.

Spokesperson Capt. Chris Magezi said after the meeting that the mediators had been informed of the “consistent signals” Kony has been sending.

“We are willing to go and participate in that function in Ri-Kwangba (South Sudan),” Magezi said. “We hope Kony is not fooling again as he has done in the past.”

He also hoped that Kony would also meet his obligations after the signing. The Rugunda team, he said, would fly to the signing venue on Friday only if Machar and Chissano, who travelled to Ri-Kwangba today, confirmed the elusive rebel leader had arrived.

If he signs, it will mark a climax of the long-drawn negotiations. Kony disappointed mediators and diplomats when he failed to show up for the signing ceremony on April 14 at Nabanga.

He said he would only sign if the world court withdrew charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity against him.

He also wanted to understand how the traditional justice system and the special court which is to try war criminals would work.

However, foreign minister Sam Kutesa said Kony must first sign the peace before his indictment by The Hague is addressed.

Kutesa said Kony was the only serious obstacle to a final peace agreement.

“Our people are ready to sign any time, but Kony is the one who has been eluding us,” he told the BBC.

After a flurry of diplomatic missions to his hideout by Chissano, and a consultative meeting in Munyonyo last week, Kony seems to have been persuade to ink the deal.

Kony and his fighters had moved deep into the DR Congo, where they loot and abduct youth in “preparation for war.”

However, mediators gave Kony up to the end of November to sign the pact. The LRA leader had often called meetings with negotiators and elders from the north but failed to show up.

Friday, November 21, 2008

LRA's Kony wants to revive peace talks

November 21, 2008 report from New Vision by Milton Olupot
Kony wants to revive peace talks:
THE elusive Lord’s Resistance Army leader, Joseph Kony, has once again expressed interest in reviving and concluding the peace process that collapsed early this year.

International relations state minister Henry Okello Oryem told journalists at Parliament on Wednesday that former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano would on November 29 lead a team to meet Kony in Nabanga, Southern Sudan.

After a meeting between the LRA, the Government negotiating team and other stakeholders at Speke Resort Munyonyo, early this month, the LRA was asked to unconditionally sign the final peace agreement before the end of this month.

Southern Sudanese Vice President Dr. Riek Machar and a team from Uganda will be part of the delegation that is expected to attend the meeting.

“The international community has once again availed an opportunity for Kony to come out and sign the peace agreement. Kony has also indicated that he will be there. This will be the last chance for the rebels,” Oryem said.

He said the LRA had recently intensified its attacks on the Congolese communities after the DR Congo government withdrew its troops from the Garamba area where the rebels are based, to boost its capacity against the fighters of Laurent Nkunda.

Kony has for the last 22 years waged a brutal war against the NRM government, killing, maiming and displacing thousands of people in the north and north eastern parts of the country. He agreed to have peace negotiations with the Government, but has since early this year shunned meetings where he was supposed to sign the peace agreement. He reportedly wants ICC to withdraw the indictments against him and other LRA commanders before he signs.

President Yoweri Museveni while meeting the chief negotiator for the Juba peace talks, Machar, at State House Nakasero recently, said he was ready to sign the peace deal and the Government can only approach the Security Council for deferment of the warrant after Kony has signed the agreement.

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Thursday, November 20, 2008

ICC judges to review LRA cases in light of deal between Kampala and LRA

Rethink comes in light of a deal between Kampala and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) terrorists providing for domestic war crimes prosecutions.

Source: Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR)
Date: Wednesday, 19 November 2008
By Katy Glassborow in The Hague and Joe Wacha in Gulu, northern Uganda (AR No. 193, 19-Nov-08). Copy:

ICC judges to review LRA cases
Judges at the International Criminal Court, ICC, are re-evaluating cases against leading member of the rebel Lord's Resistance Army, LRA, to determine if they are still viable and whether Uganda's proposed special court could be used for some of the prosecutions.

Since the five top commanders of the LRA were indicted by the ICC in 2005, peace talks have been conducted between Uganda and the rebels in Juba, South Sudan. But an agreement reached earlier this year has not been signed.

A critical part of that deal provides for Uganda to set up a special court that would apparently conduct trials for some of the top LRA commanders – a role that had been reserved for the ICC ever since Uganda asked the court's prosecutors to investigate the rebels in 2004.

The special court was contained in an annex to the negotiated settlement, and was reportedly agreed to because one of the ICC indictees, the ICC's main indictee, LRA leader Joseph Kony, has refused to face justice at the Hague court. His advisers, meanwhile, have said that Kony would consider being tried in Uganda.

The special court has raised many questions about its relation to the ICC and the status of the ICC case against Kony and his commanders.

Under ICC agreements, it has been up to Uganda to capture and turn over Kony and the other indictees for trial in The Hague. But even before negotiations began, in mid-2006, Kony's army decamped to a remote corner of northern Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, where he and two other indicted commanders remain. The two remaining ICC suspects are believed to have been killed, one apparently in fighting and the other allegedly executed by Kony.

The deadlocked situation has prompted ICC judges to review the LRA case in light of the agreement between Uganda and the rebels.

Uganda originally approached the ICC for help saying it was unable to conduct investigations and prosecutions nationally, but the establishment of a special court suggests this position has changed.

When judges asked Uganda directly how the special court influenced the ICC case, however, Solicitor- General Jane Kiggundu said Uganda's commitment to the ICC "was never vitiated by…the peace talks".

She stressed that "Uganda's position remains that there must not be impunity" and that the provision for a special court was made "without prejudice to Uganda's commitments to the ICC".

ICC judges have also asked the Uganda government and lawyers representing the defence, prosecution and victims for fresh opinions on the case and about whether the country's efforts to pursue war crimes justice are genuine and should replace the ICC cases.

Victims groups in Uganda have warned, however, that Uganda may be capitulating to LRA demands, and is willing to compromise justice to achieve a permanent settlement of the conflict.

Moreover, there are serious problems with the special court, which will no doubt concern ICC judges.

Firstly, the country's constitution does not allow it to bring cases retrospectively. So it could not prosecute those accused of crimes during the twenty year insurgency. Although, there are suggestions that the constitution might be amended or new legislation brought into force permitting the court to try war-era suspects.

Secondly, as the court is currently conceived, it would only be able to put on trials "non-state actors" – that is the LRA. Members of the Uganda Peoples Defence Force, UPDF, implicated in crimes would have to face court martials in military tribunals.

Joseph Manoba from the Uganda Coalition for the ICC, a consortium of NGOs, said that if the special court is to proceed with such a limited mandate, it's unlikely to address many of the population's concerns.

"People think that if this court is to be useful, it has to investigate and prosecute crimes that were committed previously," said Manoba.

The LRA, meanwhile, continues to wage a war against the civilian population in and around the Garamba National Park. In September, they launched attacks in Orientale province in northern DRC, killing chiefs, looting villages, and abducting children. Tens of thousands of civilians have been forced from their homes.

Victims want an end to violence, but rights groups say it is difficult for people on the ground to have a view on which form of justice, the ICC or the special court, is most appropriate, as they have very little information on the latter.

"If the government had been communicating with victims, it would be easier to understand they are genuine about national prosecutions. At a practical level, victims are not seeing anything that suggests that the government is serious about this court, so how will it seem at the international level?" said a representative from the Uganda Victims Foundation, UVF.

Richard Dicker from Human Rights Watch said the ICC review of the case sends a message to the Ugandan government that progress in creating the special court needs to be made.

"It needs to have rules, laws, procedures and personnel to conduct complex legal proceedings, in which the accused get the full benefit of internationally recognised fair trial rights. If [the court] is simply an announcement and there is no content to it, this is a wasted effort," said Dicker.

Rights groups have expressed doubts about the legitimacy of the new court, saying that it is impossible to obtain documents or details about its procedures.

"Even at parliament level, people are unable to understand a system [which integrates] international human rights laws [into domestic legislation]. Lawyers, advocates and judges admire the concept but are unprepared," said the UVF representative.

Manoba says that when the Ugandan government realised that the ICC was going to investigate not only the LRA but also the part that the UPDF played in quelling violence, its position changed.

"The government is trying to play a game. The strategy changed because the prosecutor said he would look into the UPDF following the referral. This led to negotiations with the LRA and [calls for] the use of traditional justice mechanisms," he said.

Kampala has been promoting tribal healinghealing rituals as a means of encouraging reconciliation and forgiveness, but many analysts say these symbolic ceremonies are no substitute for proper trials.

Meanwhile, ordinary Ugandans appear to have mixed feelings about the proposed special court.

Michael Nyeko, a farmer from Ongako, welcomes the plans, since the ICC has been viewed as a stumbling block to the peace process. But he urged the government not to try to interfere in court proceedings, as has happened in the past.

Molly Odongo, a mother living in the Laminawino internal refugee camp, agreed that it is difficult to trust the government.

"I would not buy the idea of the special court," said Odongo. "Many of us have reported cases of land wrangles with [the] government and even started court proceedings. But [the cases] are taking ages to be heard. How can we trust the case of the LRA commanders will not take the same route?"

Manoba suggests that the Ugandan justice system lacks the skill to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity, "Lawyers and judges need to be trained, so that they can build capacity and experience."

He said that ICC trials of top LRA commanders could have a positive influence on trials of the lower-level commanders in Uganda, "After lawyers and judges see how top level prosecutions are run, then they can deal with trials for lower level accused."

Martin Ojara, a Gulu district official, said the ICC should give the Uganda government the opportunity to prove it can handle LRA cases, especially since there are concerns that Hague trials could prompt the LRA to return to war.

"[The] ICC should understand the feelings of Ugandans. Many people are asking if the ICC [trials] won't spoil the relative peace ushered in," said Ojara.

He agreed, however, that Uganda has to do more to convince the ICC of its judicial competence, "Parliament has virtually done nothing in regard to the legislation governing the operations of the special [court], or on alternative traditional justice mechanisms."

Observations from lawyers, the Ugandan government and several human rights groups on the viability of the ICC cases and the capacity of the special court to conduct credible trials are due before judges this week.

Katy Glassborow is an international justice reporter in The Hague. Joe Wacha is an IWPR-trained journalist in northern Uganda.
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See Uganda Watch, Thursday, November 20, 2008: Ugandan army and LRA guilty of crimes against humanity says Amnesty International & UHRC

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ICC judges to review LRA cases in light of deal between Kampala and LRA

Rethink comes in light of a deal between Kampala and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) terrorists providing for domestic war crimes prosecutions.

Source: Institute for War and Peace Reporting (IWPR)
Date: Wednesday, 19 November 2008
By Katy Glassborow in The Hague and Joe Wacha in Gulu, northern Uganda (AR No. 193, 19-Nov-08). Copy:

ICC judges to review LRA cases
Judges at the International Criminal Court, ICC, are re-evaluating cases against leading member of the rebel Lord's Resistance Army, LRA, to determine if they are still viable and whether Uganda's proposed special court could be used for some of the prosecutions.

Since the five top commanders of the LRA were indicted by the ICC in 2005, peace talks have been conducted between Uganda and the rebels in Juba, South Sudan. But an agreement reached earlier this year has not been signed.

A critical part of that deal provides for Uganda to set up a special court that would apparently conduct trials for some of the top LRA commanders – a role that had been reserved for the ICC ever since Uganda asked the court's prosecutors to investigate the rebels in 2004.

The special court was contained in an annex to the negotiated settlement, and was reportedly agreed to because one of the ICC indictees, the ICC's main indictee, LRA leader Joseph Kony, has refused to face justice at the Hague court. His advisers, meanwhile, have said that Kony would consider being tried in Uganda.

The special court has raised many questions about its relation to the ICC and the status of the ICC case against Kony and his commanders.

Under ICC agreements, it has been up to Uganda to capture and turn over Kony and the other indictees for trial in The Hague. But even before negotiations began, in mid-2006, Kony's army decamped to a remote corner of northern Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC, where he and two other indicted commanders remain. The two remaining ICC suspects are believed to have been killed, one apparently in fighting and the other allegedly executed by Kony.

The deadlocked situation has prompted ICC judges to review the LRA case in light of the agreement between Uganda and the rebels.

Uganda originally approached the ICC for help saying it was unable to conduct investigations and prosecutions nationally, but the establishment of a special court suggests this position has changed.

When judges asked Uganda directly how the special court influenced the ICC case, however, Solicitor- General Jane Kiggundu said Uganda's commitment to the ICC "was never vitiated by…the peace talks".

She stressed that "Uganda's position remains that there must not be impunity" and that the provision for a special court was made "without prejudice to Uganda's commitments to the ICC".

ICC judges have also asked the Uganda government and lawyers representing the defence, prosecution and victims for fresh opinions on the case and about whether the country's efforts to pursue war crimes justice are genuine and should replace the ICC cases.

Victims groups in Uganda have warned, however, that Uganda may be capitulating to LRA demands, and is willing to compromise justice to achieve a permanent settlement of the conflict.

Moreover, there are serious problems with the special court, which will no doubt concern ICC judges.

Firstly, the country's constitution does not allow it to bring cases retrospectively. So it could not prosecute those accused of crimes during the twenty year insurgency. Although, there are suggestions that the constitution might be amended or new legislation brought into force permitting the court to try war-era suspects.

Secondly, as the court is currently conceived, it would only be able to put on trials "non-state actors" – that is the LRA. Members of the Uganda Peoples Defence Force, UPDF, implicated in crimes would have to face court martials in military tribunals.

Joseph Manoba from the Uganda Coalition for the ICC, a consortium of NGOs, said that if the special court is to proceed with such a limited mandate, it's unlikely to address many of the population's concerns.

"People think that if this court is to be useful, it has to investigate and prosecute crimes that were committed previously," said Manoba.

The LRA, meanwhile, continues to wage a war against the civilian population in and around the Garamba National Park. In September, they launched attacks in Orientale province in northern DRC, killing chiefs, looting villages, and abducting children. Tens of thousands of civilians have been forced from their homes.

Victims want an end to violence, but rights groups say it is difficult for people on the ground to have a view on which form of justice, the ICC or the special court, is most appropriate, as they have very little information on the latter.

"If the government had been communicating with victims, it would be easier to understand they are genuine about national prosecutions. At a practical level, victims are not seeing anything that suggests that the government is serious about this court, so how will it seem at the international level?" said a representative from the Uganda Victims Foundation, UVF.

Richard Dicker from Human Rights Watch said the ICC review of the case sends a message to the Ugandan government that progress in creating the special court needs to be made.

"It needs to have rules, laws, procedures and personnel to conduct complex legal proceedings, in which the accused get the full benefit of internationally recognised fair trial rights. If [the court] is simply an announcement and there is no content to it, this is a wasted effort," said Dicker.

Rights groups have expressed doubts about the legitimacy of the new court, saying that it is impossible to obtain documents or details about its procedures.

"Even at parliament level, people are unable to understand a system [which integrates] international human rights laws [into domestic legislation]. Lawyers, advocates and judges admire the concept but are unprepared," said the UVF representative.

Manoba says that when the Ugandan government realised that the ICC was going to investigate not only the LRA but also the part that the UPDF played in quelling violence, its position changed.

"The government is trying to play a game. The strategy changed because the prosecutor said he would look into the UPDF following the referral. This led to negotiations with the LRA and [calls for] the use of traditional justice mechanisms," he said.

Kampala has been promoting tribal healinghealing rituals as a means of encouraging reconciliation and forgiveness, but many analysts say these symbolic ceremonies are no substitute for proper trials.

Meanwhile, ordinary Ugandans appear to have mixed feelings about the proposed special court.

Michael Nyeko, a farmer from Ongako, welcomes the plans, since the ICC has been viewed as a stumbling block to the peace process. But he urged the government not to try to interfere in court proceedings, as has happened in the past.

Molly Odongo, a mother living in the Laminawino internal refugee camp, agreed that it is difficult to trust the government.

"I would not buy the idea of the special court," said Odongo. "Many of us have reported cases of land wrangles with [the] government and even started court proceedings. But [the cases] are taking ages to be heard. How can we trust the case of the LRA commanders will not take the same route?"

Manoba suggests that the Ugandan justice system lacks the skill to investigate war crimes and crimes against humanity, "Lawyers and judges need to be trained, so that they can build capacity and experience."

He said that ICC trials of top LRA commanders could have a positive influence on trials of the lower-level commanders in Uganda, "After lawyers and judges see how top level prosecutions are run, then they can deal with trials for lower level accused."

Martin Ojara, a Gulu district official, said the ICC should give the Uganda government the opportunity to prove it can handle LRA cases, especially since there are concerns that Hague trials could prompt the LRA to return to war.

"[The] ICC should understand the feelings of Ugandans. Many people are asking if the ICC [trials] won't spoil the relative peace ushered in," said Ojara.

He agreed, however, that Uganda has to do more to convince the ICC of its judicial competence, "Parliament has virtually done nothing in regard to the legislation governing the operations of the special [court], or on alternative traditional justice mechanisms."

Observations from lawyers, the Ugandan government and several human rights groups on the viability of the ICC cases and the capacity of the special court to conduct credible trials are due before judges this week.

Katy Glassborow is an international justice reporter in The Hague. Joe Wacha is an IWPR-trained journalist in northern Uganda.

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Ugandan army and LRA guilty of crimes against humanity says AI & UHRC

Oyeee! At long last, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and Uganda's army (UPDF) are coming under the world's spotlight.

Give up and get down to doing an honest day's work all you cretinous lazy bum terrorists. We're watching you drugged up lowlife cowards getting your jollies from raping and killing women and children.

After seven long years, the West's war on terrorists and war criminals is starting to come to fruition. We'll get you. Plenty of room is now in place to accommodate war criminals at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

We use thermal imaging and satellites to track and watch you hiding under bushes. There's no hiding place for you on Earth. Big Brother knows where you are and what you are doing day and night.

Reports released on Monday by UK-based Amnesty International and Uganda Human Rights Activists (UHRC) find the LRA and UPDF guilty of crimes against humanity.

Uganda army guilty of crimes against humanity - AI, UHRC reports
November 17, 2008 PANA report from Kampala, Uganda via Afriquenligne:
As embattled Ugandan government accuses the vicious rebel force of the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) of committing all sorts of atrocities on hapless civilians in the war-wrecked northern region, human rights groups have found its army guilty of committing similar crimes against humanity.

In separate "stinging" reports obtained Monday, both Amnesty International (AI) and Uganda Human Rights Activists (UHRC) accused the Uganda People Defence Forces (UPDF) of turning their guns against civilians during their counter-insurgency operations against LRA and disarmament operations in the country's north-eastern sub-region.

AI, a UK-based human rights group, in a report based on a five-month study in no rthern Uganda districts of Gulu, Amuru, Kitgum, Pader and Lira, found widespread sexual and physical abuses perpetrated by both the government soldiers and rebels, leaving their victims traumatised.

"Hundreds are left impaired, unable to fend for themselves any more, yet discriminated by relatives and state authorities," Dr. Godfrey Odongo, AI researcher for East Africa and lead author of the report, stated.

"Many years on, victims and survivors of human rights violations still bear the scars of these violations (and) little has been done to ensure that they access effective reparations to address their continued suffering and help them to rebuild their lives.

"There was general impunity for soldiers who committed Human Rights violations a gainst civilians."

Dr. Odongo, who described the stinging reports as forward looking, said they focused on reparations rather than what happened or the violations suffered, citing a host of victims giving harrowing testimonies of the suffering they are undergong, caused by UPDF.

Geoffrey Okumu, a war victim, was quoted in the report as saying, in May 1990, government soldiers stormed their neighborhood, arrested and killed his father an d brother on allegations of being LRA rebel collaborators and possessing illegal guns.

"My father and brother denied the accusations but the soldiers took them away. Not very far from where I remained, I heard gunshots and later realised they had been killed. We had lost a bread winner (so) I dropped out of school to fend for my siblings," AI quoted Okumu as testifying.

In Amuru district, the reports quoted Rose Apio as saying that she watched four of her relatives die after being shot by government soldiers and is now struggling to raise four orphans left by her eldest brother killed in the bizarre shooting.

Martin Abit, 38, a resident of Pader District told AI that UPDF soldiers arrested his elder brother, a non-combatant, during a counter-attack on LRA and he was later killed together with "several other people".

"The UPDF battalion (in the area) took his body with them and promised to give the body to the family for burial but to this day, the body has never been returned to our family for burial," the reports quoted Abit as alleging.

"It is not clear if the government army took the corpse away to destroy evidence that would otherwise incriminate them in committing murder or for ritual purposes, a common practice in some parts of the country.

"Survivors need medical attention, counseling and psychological support. Formerly abducted children need access to education," the UK-based rights group asserted.

"Families need compensation for the deaths and injuries that occurred, restitution for their destroyed land and property, an apology for the violations and proper reburials for their loved ones.

"The government needs to start acting on these needs now," the report added in conclusion.

As usual, Army and Ministry of Defence Spokesman, Major Paddy Ankuda, poured scorn on the reports, saying AI cannot be taken seriously because people who should have given the side of the UPDF account were available but were never contacted.

"If there is any incriminating evidence that our soldier kills anyone, there is no shortcut; they face the law," Ankuda said on telephone Monday afternoon.

"The fresh allegations of human rights abuses by the UPDF chronicled by AI are "outrageous and indefensible," Ankuda shot back.

Since the United Nations sponsored International Criminal Court (ICC) issued warrants of arrest for LRA leadership to answer multiple charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, courtesy of Uganda government, there has been voices saying Uganda army too should face trial in the Hauge.

The indictment remains a sticking issue in the country's peace process brokered by Southern Sudan Vice President Dr. Reick Macar, with LRA leader Joseph Kony refusing to sign the final peace pact if not withdrawn.

Uganda Human Rights Activists (UHRA), in a separate report, stated that soldiers deployed in the disarmament programme code-named 'Operation Restore Hope' in July this year, are torturing and extorting money from residents in Teso and Karamoja sub-regions.

According to the report, Mr. John Ogwang, a resident of Kokong Parish, Kapir Sub-county, in Kumi District, died after he was reportedly tortured by soldiers in an attempt to get a gun from him.

"The late Ogwang was arrested 2 September by soldiers under the command of Major Alfred Obore Opio, from his village.

"They tied his arms behind the back before taking him to Kapir military barracks while being tortured to reveal where he kept a gun.

"By the time they reached (the barracks), Ogwang's body was swollen from head totoes. At the military detach, he was starved for two days till he collapsed," UHRC cited one, out of host of cases in its report.

"Although the operation has good intentions of getting rid of illegal guns in Teso, the officers have abused their authority and should be brought to book," the report, signed by UHRA Coordinator, Valentine Moses Oleico, suggested.

The 3rd Division spokesperson, Captain Henry Obbo, was quoted to have confirmed Ogwang's death, saying "he died while in transit from Kapir military detachment to Soroti police" base.

Captain Obbo also dismissed reports that Ogwang was starved to death while in their harsh custody.
I say, bout time too! Too little attention has been paid to the atrocities committed by the LRA in Uganda, South Sudan, CAR and recently in the DR of Congo where they are hiding out in the jungle. No doubt special forces are on their trail.

Since the LRA have been on the rampage all over the place, why not in Chad, Darfur, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, I ask myself. Why have they been allowed to be on the rampage for 20 years? Who is behind this psycho terrorist group?

After 4.5 years of bloging news on the LRA, the conclusion I have reached is that they are off their heads, as high as kites on mind altering substances and are worse than Al-Qaeda. More later.

[Cross posted today at Sudan Watch and Congo Watch]

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Ugandan MPs fear DR Congo crisis will divert global focus from LRA terrorists hiding in DRC's Garamba national park

November 16, 2008 APA-Kampala (Uganda):
Members of Parliament from Northern Uganda are expressing concern that the current crisis in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo will divert the international focus from the mediation efforts between Uganda and the rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

One of the legislators Mr. Reagan Okumu on Sunday in an interview, underscored the need to continue pressurizing the rebel leader to sign the final comprehensive peace agreement.

The signature will end over two decades of war in northern Uganda that has now spilled to eastern Congo and Sudan.

Okumu feared that the Ugandan rebels now in Garamba national park of DR Congo could take advantage of the current conflict to prolong their presence in their hide out. M/tjm/
See Uganda Watch Sunday, 16 November 2008 re LRA cult.

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2,000 Congolese crossed Ugandan border into Ishasha, Kanungu Nov 11 bringing total number of Congolese refugees who fled into Uganda to over 12,000

From UNHCR: Situation report No. 2 - Congolese refugee influx into Uganda 13 November 2008

Highlights

A further influx of some 2,000 refugees into Ishasha brings the total number of refugees who fled from DR congo into Uganda to over 12,000.

596 Congolese have been transferred to Nakivale on Wednesday 12 November 2009 and 693 will be transferred Thursday 13 November 2008.

Transit centres in Kisoro and Ishash are now fully functional.

Situation Overview

Continued violence in Eastern DRC caused a further influx of refugees into Uganda on Tuesday 11th November. Around 2,000 Congolese crossed the Ugandan border into Ishasha, Kanungu district, in the early hours of the morning. They said they had been walking for over two weeks before finally reaching refuge in Uganda.

This group of 2,000 new arrivals brings the total number of Congolese refugees who fled into Uganda to over 12,000.

A few hundreds Congolese, among the 2,000 new arrivals seem to have crossed back into DRC a few hours after their arrival, while a first group of 596 people has been transferred to Nakivale refugee settlement yesterday, Wednesday 12, and more busses will bring another group of the registered 693 additional people today, Thursday 13th, from Ishasha. One bus with around 60 people has left Kisoro for Nakivale.

The transit centres in Kisoro and Ishasha are now fully functional and they host on a daily basis all the refugees willing to relocate to Nakivale. In the Transit Centre, the refugees are offered a hot meal and water, in addition to some basic non food items (blankets, jerrycans and, in some instances, shelter material). Once arrived in Nakivale, the new arrivals are medically screened, registered and they are hosted in a reception centre. They receive kitchen sets, buckets, plastic sheeting, seeds and tools, to clear and cultivate the plots of land that the Government will eventually allocate to them if they decide to stay for a long period of time in Uganda.

Main Challenges

Lack of adequate water facilities in Ishasha Transit Centre has been a major challenge. Thanks to MSF France’s intervention, the group of 2,000 new arrivals have accessed safe water though a 50,000 litres water tank, installed yesterday Wednesday 12.

Humanitarian Response

Save the Children has deployed teams to Kisoro and Ishasha. The teams are supporting UNHCR in registering the newly arrived unaccompanied minors, who are being transferred to Nakivale. Save the Children also started a training in Child Protection for the Ugandan Red Cross volunteers working in Kisoro and is looking at training local authorities and other partners involved in the emergency response.

MSF France, Merlin, WHO and UNHCR have carried out an assessment of the health situation at the border areas and in Nakivale. MSF had also supported the referral of a few patients to the District Hospital in Mbarara. In Ishasha, MSF is starting to deliver medial care to the new arrivals and is going to install a few additional latrines in Ishasha Transit Centre.

The Uganda Red Cross in Kisoro continued to register the refugees willing to go to Nakivale, distributing the non food items provided by UNHCR. The URC has also supported the Kisoro District Authorities in assessing the needs of the self-settled refugees in Muko, Nteko and Busanza and has carried out a hygiene promotion campaign in the villages along the border where the refugees are being hosted. In Kanungu, URC supported UNHCR in registering the new arrivals and identifying the separated children. UNICEF has supported Kisoro District to provide three emergency drug kits (basic drugs, ringers lactate, syringes etc) and vaccines to St. Joseph Health Centre III to serve up to 10,000 people, and conduct routine immunization outreach with focus on polio and measles. Support was provided to the District to install and connect a 10,000-litre water tank to existing main supply and to install eight latrine stances and four bathing shelters at the transit centre. 25 water tanks (10,000 litre capacity) and 300 mobilets were pre-positioned in Kisoro, in the eventuality of a larger influx that would cause the opening of a biggest reception centre in Nyakabanda (Kisoro).

In Kanungu, UNICEF supported the district to establish a treatment and immunization site in the Ishasha trading centre.

WFP has provided food to be distributed in the Transit Centres in Kisoro and in Ishasha and is providing full food rations to all new arrivals getting established in Nakivale. In the event of a further influx, WFP has also pre-positioned food for an additional 30,000 people.

UNHCR continues to coordinate all emergency activities at the border areas (Kisoro and Ishasha) and the registration and delivery of assistance in Nakivale refugee settlement. The two transit centres at the border have been set up, although we are coordinating with other partners on improving the sanitation facilities and the water provision. We are organizing transport on a daily basis from the border to Nakivale, where, together with GTZ and the Office of the Prime Minister, the refugees are registered, screened and they receive all necessary assistance.

As a further influx of thousands more refugees is anticipated, UNHCR is coordinating with the Government of Uganda for the establishment of Reception Centres with a capacity of up to 10,000 people both in Kisoro and in Kanungu. Meanwhile, UNHCR is strengthening its reception capacity in Nakivale and preparing for the identification of a second refugee settlement that would accommodate the new arrivals, when Nakivale’s capacity is exhausted.

Coordination

Weekly coordination meetings are held in UNHCR Conference room. Yesterday, Wednesday 12, UNHCR and the State Minister of Disaster Preparedness, Relief and refugees organized a Donor Mission to the Ishasha border.

SOURCE: http://www.rdc-humanitaire.net/f/article.php3?id_article=1402

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The deadly cult of Joseph Kony, leader of Ugandan LRA terrorist group

While the world watches one conflict in Congo, another is raging – inspired by a sadistic rebel leader with a taste for black magic. Daniel Howden reports from Sakure.

Joseph Kony, leader of the Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army

Photo: Joseph Kony, leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, in Uganda, is on the rampage again, this time in Congo (Adam Pletts/Getty)

Saturday, 8 November 2008 - Independent.co.uk - The deadly cult of Joseph Kony:
Sakure is on the front line of a war that is not supposed to exist. Perched on the rim of the Congo basin, it looks out from South Sudan and into the vastness of the rainforest beyond. The victims of this war are strewn over the floor of that forest, their bodies left to rot, while others have been left as ashes in the charred remains of their villages. Those that have survived are huddled among Sakure's grass huts nervously eyeing the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo across which they fled.

It is a war that is waged by heavily armed soldiers against unarmed villagers and its casualties both living and dead mark the rebirth of Africa's most feared guerrilla group – the Lord's Resistance Army. It was supposed to be a moribund force, a Ugandan rebellion which lost its support and its way after two decades of increasingly sickening violence, with seemingly little point.

A campaign launched in the 1980s claiming to defend the rights of the Acholi people in northern Uganda had become a byword for sadism. Years of abductions where children were forced to kill their own parents in a brutal initiation had left them feared but hated. Their leader and self-styled messiah Joseph Kony was supposed to be on the point of surrender, with his diminishing band of fighters contained in a transit camp awaiting the signing of a peace plan.

Instead the terror has been transplanted, this time to the remote north of Congo. The bewildered victims of this campaign know nothing of the cause espoused by those that are hunting them – they have never been to neighbouring Uganda. The rebel fighters moved into camps in Congo's Garamba National Park in what was hoped would be the final staging post before peace. But those talks have collapsed after the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for Kony's arrest. A deadline for the end of this month has been given to the guerrillas. They sign the deal or face the consequences, but in their hundreds they have already slipped the net.

All along the border with South Sudan scores of refugees are streaming out of the bush and across the border every day with horrifying accounts of the return of the LRA.

Father Paul was on his way for an afternoon nap on 17 September in the Komboni mission in the Congolese village of Duru when he heard shouting. Looking outside he saw dozens of soldiers marching towards the mission. "They were dressed like soldiers but they were dirty. Some wore witch doctors' hats and dreads in their hair." Marching with them were the girls and boys of the village, women with babies, all carrying their meagre possessions: mattresses, radios, sugar, mobile phones and soap.

Pushing past Father Paul into the courtyard of the mission everyone was ordered to sit on the floor, while the building was ransacked. A frail man in his late 70s, Father Paul was taken to his room and tortured by soldiers who insisted the priests must have money in the mission. "I thought I was going to die so I got on my knees and prayed to the Lord. When they heard me say his name they screamed at me, 'Don't say that word!' And then hit me with their guns."

Such attacks have been replayed across an entire region in recent weeks driving tens of thousands of the Zande people to flee into South Sudan or deeper into the forests of Congo.

The scene, says Father Paul, was straight out of the days of slavery. The children were divided, then bound together and made to march, he remembers.

Left by his attackers in the bush, the priest returned to Duru to see its thousands of shelters ablaze, with the village's only permanent structure, the mission, black and charred. Not a shot had been fired. The group prefer to use machetes. Father Galdino Sakondo, a Catholic priest who has been working with victims of the terror on both sides of the border says the silent tactic is deliberate. "They don't shoot, they are just chopping. You don't know they are there until they reach your house."

That was the fate of 15-year-old Neima Kumbari in the village of Napopo. "They came in the morning but I didn't see them at first." When she did realise the soldiers had arrived it was already too late. Her parents were beaten with rifle butts, then, along with her uncle and a brother, burned alive in their own hut. The soldiers had "no mercy", she says.

Neima escaped by running into the bush while her village was torched, stepping over the fallen bodies of her dead neighbours as she ran. After two days she reached Sakure having lost everything, her whole family. In a flat, calm voice, Neima says she is still haunted by the bodies she stepped on.

Philip Charles didn't get the chance to run. A shy, quiet 16-year-old, he was at home near the Congo border when the area was overrun by a raiding party from the LRA. The children were abducted, their families' looted possessions strapped to them and then they were tied together in pairs and made to sit in silence. "If we made a sound they would beat us to death," he was told.

Later after the LRA fighters had been repelled in an attempted attack on Sakure they frog-marched "many" children into the forest.

Philip remembers telling the girl he was tied to that they had to find a way to escape. "I was thinking I wouldn't survive. They wanted to turn us into soldiers." After a night in captivity he was able to untie himself, throw down his heavy load and run into the bush. She was not so lucky. The fate of the lost girl is as predictable as it is nightmarish.

Amony Evelyn was 12 when she was taken under similar circumstances. Her life in the bush was a mixture of drudgery and torture. Part cook, part porter, part sex slave to Joseph Kony himself. A man many believe to be clinically insane, he is said to see his mission as "purifying" the Acholi people and to encourage a quasi-religious cult involving black magic. She bore him two children, the first when she was still 13 and was pregnant with a third when she fled last year after 10 years in captivity.

Today she is piecing her life back together with the help of a counsellor, Paul Rubangakena from the Catholic charity Caritas, in Gulu, across the border in Uganda. He says the girls and boys in his care "wake up screaming from their nightmares" – even the staff are traumatised by the litany of horrors they have had to hear. The UK-based arm of Caritas, Cafod, is also among the groups assisting the refugees in South Sudan. Raphael Wamae, the group's humanitarian officer, has been part of an early assessment team who arrived on the scene to gauge the scale of the refugee crisis. "We cannot ignore what is happening here because of events in Goma. This is part of the same crisis. Armed factions are roaming Congo preying on defenceless people," he says.

Already more than 5,000 refugees have been counted, all in desperate need of food and shelter. Countless more are roaming the bush and some 60 more are arriving every day. Catholic church groups are calling for urgent assistance and warning that the area risks being ignored.

"The same factors driving the humanitarian disaster in Eastern Congo are at play here: weak states, lack of law and order and the scale of mineral wealth in DRC leave ordinary people at the mercy of men with guns," says Mr Wamae.

Just as in the crisis in the east of Congo, the national army does nothing to protect its people and the UN peacekeepers, Monuc, are powerless to help.

At stake are a mesh of competing interests that stretch from Khartoum, through Darfur to the threatened Eastern Congolese city of Goma and the capital of Rwanda, Kigali. Rebel groups can be used to control the money generated by Congo's fabulous mineral wealth but they also serve the dual purpose of helping to destabilise regional rivals. A recipe for proxy wars without end.

Lexon Bashir, the director of the South Sudan Relief and Rehabilitation Committee, rails against the "so-called LRA". "Why are they abducting children? Sudanese boys and girls as well. We have seen children burnt beyond recognition their bodies thrown into fires." He sees an outside hand in the violent re-emergence of Mr Kony's cult but refuses to say whose.

In private others are less reticent, pointing to helicopter drops of arms and ammunition to the LRA. They believe that the government of Khartoum led by President Omar al-Bashir – a fellow indictee the ICC – is helping Kony's army with a view to destabilising southern Sudan ahead of a possible resumption of that civil war.

In the clearing of Sakure, thousands of miles from Khartoum, girls like Neima suffer the reality of these machinations. Despite nearly 400 soldiers from South Sudan stationed here to protect them and UN food aid finally reaching the refugees, she feels that she is still being hunted. "There is a war," she says. "I don't know what they want but I have heard they are called the LRA. I'm scared. They are coming to Sakure."
From altar boy to sadistic killer

The altar boy who became a rebel leader who turned into a psychopath. The self-styled prophet Joseph Kony has remained an elusive and terrifying figure casting a spell over first Uganda, then Sudan and the Central African Republic, and now the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Born in 1961, he inherited his mantle as leader of the Acholi people from his aunt, Alice Lakwena, a mystic who started the Holy Spirit Movement against the government in Kampala.

While initially enjoying strong public support, Kony's group, the Lord's Resistance Army, turned on its own supporters in an increasingly brutal and incoherent campaign, supposedly bent on "purifying" the Acholi people and turning Uganda into a theocracy ruled by the Ten Commandments.

His army has been forcibly recruited from the Acholi, with as many as 20,000 children abducted and forced to commit atrocities that prevented them from returning home.

He has nurtured a cult of personality, claiming he is visited by a multinational host of 13 spirits, including a Chinese phantom. Former abductees speak in awed terms of his "magical powers" and abrupt mood changes. He is said to have taken up to 60 wives and fathered countless children.

A school dropout described as a "gentle boy" by classmates, he has become one of the most sadistic leaders in Africa. In 2005, the International Criminal Court issued a warrant for his arrest for crimes against humanity.

Attacks by Ugandan LRA terrorists in DR Congo calls for stronger UN troop presence - SUDAN: LRA terrorists put DRC civilians to flight

November 14, 2008 (VOA) Washington, DC, report by Howard Lesser - Attacks by Ugandan Rebels in DRC Draw Calls for Stronger UN Troop Presence:
Four human rights groups are urging the UN Security Council to dispatch additional peacekeepers to the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Orientale province to help the Congolese army contain attacks by Ugandan rebels. Human Rights Watch, Resolve Uganda, the Justice and Peace Commission of Congo’s Dungu/Doruma, and the Enough Project are also asking Britain, the United States, and countries near the DRC to pursue an arrest strategy against Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel leader General Joseph Kony and his followers, who are wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes.

In Washington, the Enough Project’s Africa Advocacy Director Colin Thomas-Jensen said the attacks have escalated in the past two months and are straining the mandate of a 17-thousand troop UN peacekeeping force, known by its acronym MONUC, which has been trying to curb tensions in Congo’s neighboring North Kivu Province.

“The patterns that we’re seeing, the hit-and-run attacks on large towns that have military bases, like the town of Dungu, we think it’s part of a broader plan by the Lord’s Resistance Army to increase their ranks, to bolster their military capacity for ultimately what could be another round of conflict in region,” observed Thomas-Jensen.

Throughout the Juba peace process between Ugandan rebels and the Kampala government which took place in southern Sudan, LRA negotiators have offered and then declined to sign a final agreement to end more than 20 years of insurgency in northern Uganda. The Enough Project’s Thomas-Jensen says that this week’s most current hints that General Kony will go ahead and sign the accord might counteract the peace process and complicate the insurgency even more.

“It could actually lead to a very complicated situation, one in which Kony might actually sign a deal but then not come out of the bush. And then what do you have? You have a signed peace deal, but the rebellion remains ensconced in a national park across the border. And what does that do for any sort of military options that might be on the table? What does it do for demobilization because he signed a peace deal, but they’re still in the bush? So I think what we’re likely going to see at the end of the month is a continuation of the status quo. I don’t think we’re going to see much of a change. But if he does sign, it does alter the situation and make it somewhat more complicated,” he noted.

Thomas-Jensen says there are multiple reasons why the human rights organizations are pushing for Washington, London and Congo’s neighbors to step up the pressure to prosecute the rebels.

“First and foremost, the threat that the LRA poses to civilians, this is one of the most bitter insurgencies of all time in terms of its ability to cause terror and displace civilians at one-point-seven million Ugandans displaced by just a couple of thousand LRA fighters. Also, I think you have to put the issue of the LRA in the context of our never-ending quest for international justice. Joseph Kony is an indicted war criminal, indicted by the International Criminal Court along with four of his cohorts, two of which are now deceased. And the fact that these warrants were issued but there was no plan by the international community to execute the warrants I think speaks volumes about the gap between the rhetoric on international justice and the action,” he said.

Following Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon’s return to New York from last weekend’s emergency summit on the troubled Great Lakes region in Nairobi, Kenya, discussions intensified at UN headquarters as the Secretary General pressed for a ceasefire in North Kivu province, northwest of Orientale. Alan Doss, the UN chief’s special representative for Congo appealed in early October for reinforcements for MONUC, and security council consideration remains under discussion. In August, 150 current MONUC peacekeepers were dispatched to neighboring Orientale to protect civilians and help Congolese troops contain the LRA. But six DRC army deaths and three rebel fatalities in October have prompted the four human rights organizations to press for additional UN peacekeepers. Thomas-Jensen says it’s a matter for the security council urgently to sort out the priorities.

“The situation we’re seeing right now in the Congo is one that has the potential to spiral out of control pretty dramatically, and one that demands a big response, both diplomatically, but also in the immediate term militarily. I do think that there does need to be an additional deployment of troops in the Kivus. But the risk in neglecting what is a very serious and increasingly violent insurgency by the LRA in Garamba National Park, I think the risk you run in not addressing that is that we’ll have to be three, four, five, six months down the road dealing with yet another massive crisis that we’ve allowed to spill out of control,” he warned.
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SUDAN: LRA rebels put Congo civilians to flight

October 22, 2008 IRIN report (via borglobe.com):
SUDAN: LRA rebels put Congo civilians to flight

Photo: DRC refugees who fled LRA attacks registering with UNHCR officials in Gangura, Southern Sudan (Peter Martell/IRIN)

YAMBIO, 22 October 2008 (IRIN) - The recent attack on Dungu town in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo by the Ugandan rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) occurred on a quiet morning, displaced civilians said.

"We were in the fields working, when the warning went out that they were coming with guns," Aneshi Sheroze, a 22-year old farmer, explained.

"We ran back, but they were already killing and burning our houses, and then the Catholic mission."

The northern Ugandan insurgents, now based in remote Congolese jungle hideouts, then dragged away school children, binding their hands tightly together.

"They destroyed our homes and took the children all away," Sheroze said, recounting the attack as he queued to register with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in the southern Sudanese town of Yambio.

The attack sent the villagers trekking some 55km through thick jungle to the Sudan border, avoiding roads for fear of running into other rebel units. Sheroze carried his two young children.

Eventually, they sought shelter in the village of Gangura, some 13km inside Sudan.

The attack, the villagers told IRIN, was part of a series of raids launched by the rebel army, and marks a return to its violent trademark attacks and mass abductions following a period of largely relative calm during on-and-off peace talks.

"The LRA have raided us before for food, but this time they were killing, and destroying our grain stores," said Joyce, another Democratic Republic of Congo refugee.

Observers fear the attacks have largely sunk hopes that LRA commander Joseph Kony could sign a long-delayed peace deal hammered out in three years of negotiations.

They've also sparked fears that the rebels are now recruiting for a renewed offensive in what is already one of Africa's longest conflicts.

A preliminary report released by the UN Mission in Congo (MONUC) following a visit to the burnt villages accused the LRA of brutal attacks.

"In all localities that suffered attacks, the LRA elements conducted a campaign of killing, systematic abduction of children, and burning of almost all houses," the report reads.

SUDAN: LRA rebels put Congo civilians to flight

Photo: The LRA, according to the refugees, destroyed homes and took the children away (Peter Martell/IRIN)

Heavy burden

Some 4,000 refugees have fled to south Sudan according to UNHCR, but many more thousands have been displaced within the DRC. Several hundred are within southern Sudan, where the rebels also raided.

The latest violence, officials in Southern Sudan said, has put a heavy burden on the southern state of Western Equatoria, which is already struggling to reintegrate its own people returning after being displaced in Sudan's civil war. That war ended in a peace deal three years ago.

"We have refugees from the DR Congo, displaced southern Sudanese and Sudanese who have recently returned after the war," said Lexson Wali Amozai, director of the Southern Sudan Refugee and Rehabilitation Commission in Western Equatoria

"We have increased security, but many are very scared, and they need long term humanitarian assistance."

Kony and his top commanders, who head an army accused of massacring and mutilating thousands, are wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) on war crimes charges.

Thousands of people, mainly in northern Uganda, have died in more than two decades of the LRA's insurgency, while nearly two million were forced from their homes at the height of the conflict.

Kony began battling the Ugandan government in 1988 for what he said was the marginalisation of northern Uganda, but his army was later driven first into Southern Sudan, then into DRC.

Now the LRA are believed to operate across the remote border areas far from control in DRC, raiding villages in Sudan as well as the Central African Republic.

The villagers from Dungu said the rebels were clearing a vast area of forest as their military base.

"They told people that these lands belong to them, and that anyone would be killed if they crossed into them," said Gungbale Gengate, a Protestant priest from Napopo village.

Killers

Gengate, whose Bible school was destroyed by rebels and is now sheltering in Yambio, dismissed reports that Kony claims torun his army on the biblical 10 Commandments.

"These people have no religion - they are killers," Gengate said.

But the LRA spokesman David Nyekorach-Matsanga claimed it was another unnamed militia who carried out the attacks.

"There are many rebel and private militias operating in that region, and these attacks were not by the LRA," said Matsanga, who is based in Kenya but claims to have regular contact with the rarely heard-from Kony.

He also rejected allegations from the ICC that the rebels had renewed recruitment, calling the Hague-based court a "pot of lies".

"The institution of (the) ICC alleges that the LRA have recruited 1,000 fighters," he said. "It is now clear that the ICC targets Africans as their specimen to be used in their laboratory in The Hague."

The refugees from Dungu insisted the attacks were by the LRA. "We know them, because they have raided us many times, looting our houses for food," said Joyce.

"This time they were killing people...When they attacked I hid behind my hut because I wanted to get what I could of my belongings, and I saw them clearly."

Many of the refugees say they have been treated well on their arrival in southern Sudan, in a region where many speak the same Zande language.

However, they are fearful of the future, without homes and few job prospects in a region itself chronically under developed and recovering from war.

"They have destroyed our lives," said Joyce. pm/sr

Friday, November 14, 2008

South Sudan govt VP Riek Machar met with senior UN personnel on the Uganda peace process and monitoring the movement and activities of the LRA

This is a copy of a November 12, 2008 post at Congo Watch: DR Congo forces to suspend operations against Ugandan terrorist group LRA on condition that Kony signs Final Peace Agreement by end of Nov.

Monday 10 November 2008 (Sudan Tribune) report by James Gatdet Dak - DR Congo forces to suspend operations against the LRA:
DRC President Kabila & GOSS VP Machar

Photo: DR Congo President Kabila shaking hands with Government of South Sudan (GOSS) VP, Riek Machar, Nairobi, November 7, 2008. (Photo: J.G. Dak, ST)

November 9, 2008 (NAIROBI) – Regular forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will cease military operations against the Ugandan rebels, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), said President Lauren Kabila.

LRA forces have been reportedly clashing with Congolese troops for the last two months inside DR Congo as the rebels have been allegedly destroying Congolese villages and abducting children.

President Kabila told the Government of Southern Sudan’s Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar in their meeting in Nairobi on Friday that his forces would ceasefire with the LRA on condition that Joseph Kony signs the Final Peace Agreement with the Uganda government by the end of November.

The DR Congo President who came to attend the AU Summit in Nairobi to resolve the conflict in his country expressed his support to the Uganda peace process and he called on the LRA leadership to re-assemble its forces in the designated area at Sudan’s border with his country.

Machar who also participated in the Summit held a consultative meeting with senior United Nations personnel on the Uganda peace process.

They discussed possibility of stationing some members of the Cessation of Hostilities Monitoring Team (CHMT) with UN MONOC forces based in Dungu and other areas inside DR Congo to monitor the movement and activities of the LRA.

CHMT was established in Juba to monitor the implementation of the cessation of hostilities agreement signed two years ago between the Uganda government and the LRA, and it is composed of senior military officers from Kenya, South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania, DR Congo, Uganda, Southern Sudan and the LRA.

The Team is led by Major General Wilson Deng of the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).

MONOC forces would also provide the CHMT members to be based in DR Congo with necessary logistical support.

Vice President Machar, who is the Chief Mediator of the Uganda peace talks, said he had also reached an understanding with UNMIS in Southern Sudan to reconstruct the main road from the Sudan-DR Congo border at Ri-kwangba up to Maridi town in Western Equatoria state.

The UN MONOC forces would also construct a road from the DR Congo side of the border to link the two countries by land.

He said this would also connect Sudan’s UNMIS and DR Congo’s MONOC by land and would make movement and trade between Western Equatoria state and DR Congo possible.

A Stake holders’ Consultative Conference held in Kampala this week called on the LRA leader to sign the peace agreement by November 29, 2008.

Since April 10 this year, the LRA leader Joseph Kony has refused to sign the peace deal, demanding that the Ugandan government should first approach the International Criminal Court (ICC) to defer indictment on him for alleged serious crimes he committed during his rebellion.

President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda on Thursday said his government would approach the ICC to defer the indictment after the LRA leader has signed the Final Peace Agreement.

LRA has proved to be a threat to regional security and analysis say the Government of Southern Sudan’s mediated Juba peace process is the best chance to end its 22 years rebellion.
Don't miss today's in-depth post at Congo Watch.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Remember the 11th day of the 11th month at the 11th hour

On 2 May, 1915, in the second week of fighting during the Second Battle of Ypres Lieutenant Alexis Helmer was killed by a German artillery shell. He was a friend of the Canadian military doctor Major John McCrae. It is believed that John began the draft for his famous poem 'In Flanders Fields' that evening.

In Flanders Fields

John McCrae
In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved, and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders Fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders Fields.

poppies200.jpg

The poppy is the recognized symbol of remembrance for war dead. The flower owes its significance to the poem In Flanders Fields, written by Major (later Lieutenant-Colonel) John McCrae, a doctor with the Canadian Army Medical Corps, in the midst of the Second Battle of Ypres, in Belgium, in May 1915.

The poppy references in the first and last stanzas of the most widely read and oft-quoted poem of the war contributed to the flower's status as an emblem of remembrance and a symbol of new growth amidst the devastation of war.

Remembrance Day Poppy

Two minutes of silence at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month because that was the time (in Britain) when the armistice became effective. The two minutes recall World War I and World War II. Before 1945 the silence was for one minute, and today some ceremonies still only have one minute of silence despite this.

In the United Kingdom, although two minutes' silence is observed on November 11 itself, the main observance is on the second Sunday of November, Remembrance Sunday. - Wikipedia
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"The Meaning of God"

By Mahatma K. Gandhi
(Young India, October 11, 1928)

There is an indefinable mysterious Power that pervades everything.

I feel It, though I do not see It.

It is this unseen Power which makes Itself felt and yet defies all proof,
because It is so unlike all that I perceive through my senses.

It transcends the senses....

That informing Power or Spirit is God....

For I can see that in the midst of death life persists, in the midst of untruth, truth persists, in the midst of darkness light persists.

Hence I gather that God is Life, Truth, Light. He is love.

He is supreme good.

But he is no God who merely satisfies the intellect
If He ever does.

God to be God must rule the heart and transform it.
- - -

Gandhi's Peace Prayers

Hindu Peace Prayer
I desire neither earthly kingdom, nor even freedom from birth and death. I desire only the deliverance from grief of all those afflicted by misery. Oh Lord, lead us from the unreal to the real; from darkness to light; from death to immortality. May there be peace in celestial regions. May there be peace on earth. May the waters be appeasing. May herbs be wholesome and may trees and plants bring peace to all. May all beneficent beings bring peace to us. May thy wisdom spread peace all through the world. May all things be a source of peace to all and to me. Om Shanti, Shanti, Shanti (Peace, Peace, Peace).

Islamic Peace Prayer
We think of Thee, worship Thee, bow toThee as the Creator of this Universe; we seek refuge in Thee, the Truth, our only support. Thou art the Ruler, the barge in this ocean of endless births and deaths.
In the name of Allah, the beneficient, the merciful. Praise be to the Lord of the Universe who has created us and made us into tribes and nations. Give us wisdom that we may know each other and not despise all things. We shall abide by thy Peace. And, we shall remember the servants of God are those who walk on this earth in humility and, when we address them, we shall say Peace Unto Us All.

Christian Peace Prayer
Blessed are the PEACEMAKERS, for they shall be known as The Children of God. But I say to you: love your enemy, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To those who strike you on the cheek, offer the other also; and from those who take away your cloak, do not withhold your coat as well. Give to everyone who begs from you; and, to those who take away your goods, do not ask them again. And as you wish that others would do unto you, do so unto them as well.

Jewish Peace Prayer
Come let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, that we may walk the paths of the Most High. And we shall beat our swords into ploughshares and our spears into pruning hooks. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation - neither shall they learn war any more. And none shall be afraid, for the mouth of the Lord of Hosts has spoken.

Shinto Peace Prayer
Although the people living across the ocean surrounding us are all our brothers and sisters why, Oh Lord, is there trouble in this world? Why do winds and waves rise in the ocean surrounding us? I earnestly wish the wind will soon blow away all the clouds hanging over the tops of the mountains.

Bahá'í Peace Prayer
Be generous in prosperity and thankful in adversity. Be fair in thy judgement and guarded in thy speech. Be a lamp unto those who walk in darkness and a home to the stranger. Be eyes to the blind and a guiding light unto he feet of the erring. Be a breath of life to the body of humankind, a dew to the soil of the human heart and a fruit upon the tree of humility.
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Further reading

Tuesday, November 14, 2006 - Sudan Watch:
The Anglo-Zulu war - A Lesson Learned?

rosary.jpg

Cross posted to Sudan Watch, Congo Watch, Ethiopia Watch, Kenya Watch

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