Uganda: We Are Not a Terrorist Organisation, Says LRA
Source: News from Africa - www.newsfromafrica.org
Written by: Peter Omondi
Date: Tuesday 19 October 2010
NAIROBI---The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), Uganda’s rebel group that has been fighting President Yoweri Museveni’s government for the last 24 years has denied that it is a terrorist organization.
The rebel group was reacting to resolutions arrived at by a three-day meeting of countries affected by the northern Uganda conflict was held in Bangui, Central African Republic from 13-15 October. It was attended by the officials of the Peace and Security Commission of the African Union. Besides characterizing the LRA as a terrorist organization, the meeting further agreed to establish a joint military brigade to be backed by the AU to help in the eradication of the LRA.
It also called on the international community, particularly the United States of America and the European Union to fund this proposed new military adventure.
The CAR government spokesman is widely quoted to have told the press, "We are now issuing a call to the United States of America and the European Union to tell them that if they do not help the Central African Republic as soon as possible, the LRA of Joseph Kony will soon join with Al-Qaeda, and it will be very serious." He is also reported to have said that the CAR cannot afford to fight the Ugandan rebels across the country, before adding that, "We do not want to dismiss the LRA out of the CAR, we definitely want to finish, destroy the LRA."
“These are cheap self-serving lies”, said a statement issued to media houses by Justine Labeja, Acting Leader of the LRA Peace Team. “The LRA is not a terrorist organization and is not about to join Al-Qaeda. The LRA is not and has no role in prosecuting war against the peoples and, or governments of CAR, DR Congo, Southern Sudan or the Republic of the Sudan.”
The statement added: “The LRA is simply holding in self defence and in self preservation against a needless regional military campaign that has been mounted under the orchestration and the leadership of the army state of Uganda in the last two years.The LRA should not be used by the governments of these troubled African countries as an excuse to seek assistance from the international community to prop themselves up.”
LRA further accused the countries that met in Bangui as those having their own internal rebellions to deal with.
“The LRA should not be used as a cover and convenience in these conflicts. The Bangui meeting that proposes a 'Rambo' type solution to the 'northern' Uganda and other African conflicts is a mischievous attempt to divert the AU from addressing the root causes of Africa's structurally and politically generated conflicts”, the LRA statement added.
Peace talks between the Ugandan government and the LRA, which were mediated by the Government of Southern Sudan collapsed in 2008 after LRA leader Joseph Kony refused to sign the final peace deal unless the International Criminal Court (ICC) warrants against him and his commanders were withdrawn. LRA has since spread its wings to CAR, DRC and Southern Sudan, and has been accused of carrying out attacks on the civilian population and abducting children for use as soldiers and sex slaves.