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LRA declares ceasefire

NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 13 – The Lords Resistance Army (LRA) declared on Friday that it would begin a temporary ceasefire next Wednesday to foster conducive grounds for the signing of a peace agreement.

Chief Negotiator David Nyekorach-Matsanga said General Kony was willing to sign a peace deal on condition that the Ugandan government declares a ceasefire to embark on comprehensive dialogue.

“The LRA proposals for peace are a temporary public ceasefire declared by both parties LRA/GOSS at 1200hrs on March 18. Followed by declaration of a temporary ceasefire by GOSS and DRC at 1200hrs on March 19,” he said.

At a press conference in Nairobi, Mr Matsanga said most LRA combatants are Christians and would not launch attacks during the specified period.

“They don’t raid at this time. That is why they have given this olive branch of peace. We want to go to the table,” he said.

The negotiator said the length of the ceasefire and extensions would be discussed at a stakeholder’s conference that will be held earlier or on March 28 and 29 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

And he warned that General Kony had made it clear he would not go to Juba because he wants a neutral ground.

“We want a neutral ground like Kenya or Tanzania,” Mr Matsanga said, adding that they wanted assurance of security during the negotiation period which they suggest should be provided by a standby force from regional countries like Kenya, Tanzania, or Mozambique.

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“They will be in an assembly point and once they are in an assembly point, nobody is going to touch them,” he said.

“We therefore, call upon all regional leaders in the Great Lakes Region to embrace the current proposals of peace and ceasefire as the last attempt to end the conflict peacefully,” he added.

Unless the AU standby force intervenes to provide security, he said, the assembly would not take place.

“Assembly of LRA combatants will only begin when the African Union standby force of neutral countries is composed and verification that there is protection for LRA fighters,” he said.

Mr Matsanga maintains LRA will not allow its leader to be tried at the International Criminal Court (ICC) at The Hague ‘because it cannot provide justice’.

He said as long Uganda is not a failed state, there is no reason why any of its citizens should be tried outside its jurisdictions.

“ICC is a political instrument, we cannot trust it to give us justice. I don’t have confidence in it at all,” he said.

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