Thursday, March 01, 2007

Otti in DRC: LRA says no to truce

Reuters report by Tim Cocks Feb 28 2007 (via IOL) - excerpt:
Lord's Resistance Army rebels will not renew a landmark truce with the Ugandan government set to expire on Wednesday, a top LRA official said, raising fears of a new chapter in the brutal 20-year war in northern Uganda.

The LRA pulled out of peace talks with the government in south Sudan's capital Juba last month, citing security fears after Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir threatened to "get rid of the LRA from Sudan".

They have refused to resume talks unless another venue outside Sudan is found, a request Kampala rejects as a time-wasting tactic.

"We are not going to renew anything," LRA deputy commander Vincent Otti told Reuters by satellite telephone from his forest hideout in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.

Otti said the LRA had no plans to resume hostilities, but would hit back in self-defence. He added that the LRA would happily sign an extension of the truce in another venue.

Addressing journalists late on Tuesday, President Yoweri Museveni warned military operations against the LRA were still possible.

"Peace in Uganda will be maintained with or without peace talks," he said. "Talks were mainly for the benefit of the terrorists. If they don't give in, that will be their problem."

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