Uganda: February 25, 2005


Though the current ceasefire expired on February 22, the Ugandan government said that peace talks with the LRA are continuing. The government said that meetings with LRA leaders, who have surrendered, are being conducted near Gulu. The objective is to explore political solutions --and bring holdout hard core LRA fighters in from the bush. The government reported that some of the LRA leaders will use a local radio station to "address directly" the rebels still bearing arms. The government estimated that the active LRA force has shrunk to 400 fighters. Though there is no way to precisely confirm the figure, former commanders are prime intelligence sources. Meanwhile, military operations continue, and the LRA is still killing unarmed civilians. NGO sources reported that late on the evening of February 21 LRA thugs killed three people at the Alokolum refugee camp north of the town of Gulu. If the time of the attack is accurate, then the LRA attacked before the ceasefire had expired. A Ugandan military spokesman later claimed that the attack had a special message --the mother of an LRA leader who had surrendered to the government was living in the camp. The government spokesman claimed she was the target of the attack. The Ugandan government acknowledges that it is pursuing a "dual strategy" -- negotiations and combat operations. Call it "talk and fight."




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