Uganda: Peace Deal Goes Away


April 13,2008: Uganda and the Lords Resistance Army were supposed to sign a final peace agreement on April 5. Wait and see is the best advice when the LRA talks peace. April 5 came and went but on April 7 negotiators reported that LRA commander Joseph Kony had agreed to sign the new "comprehensive" peace deal (Final Peace Agreement is the official name) on April 10. Some of the diplomatic rewards for completing the peace agreement turned up in the press. For example, the LRA stated that although it is on the US's "terrorist organization list", the US had approved visas for several LRA representatives to come to New York for a UN meeting. Then April 10 came and went. Kony did not sign the peace agreement. Kony demanded "clarification" of the judicial proceedings he and his subordinate commanders will face. Kony and several other LRA leaders face international criminal warrants. Kony then fired several members of the LRA's negotiating team. On April 11 the Uganda government "suspended indefinitely" completing the peace agreement with the LRA. The Ugandan government also stated that unless the South Sudanese mediation team informed it that the LRA was ready to sign the peace treaty it would allow the ceasefire agreement to expire on April 15. The Government of South Sudan's Vice President, Riek Machar, heads the mediation team. Letting the ceasefire agreement expire is a big deal – it is a public statement that says the war has begun again.. The Cessation of Hostilities Agreement (ceasefire deal) has provided the political framework for the tentative peace that holds in northern Uganda.

April 11, 2008: The Ugandan government reported that 22 Karamojong warriors were convicted of illegal weapons possession. The men were arrested last month. For several years the government has tried several disarmament programs, including buying automatic weapons from the Karamojong. Now the police have started arresting the heavily-armed tribesmen.


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