Uganda: LRA’s Joseph Kony urged to attend funeral as his mother dies

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The mother of notorious LRA rebels leader, Joseph Kony has died after a long illness. According to the government representative of Gulu district Walter Ochola, where she hails from, Norah Oting, 86, died in a Kampala hospital Wednesday morning.

Her relatives have called upon the rebel leader, Joseph Kony to come out of the bush and attend the burrial of his mother and thereafter sign the final peace agreement.

John Opio, one of the reatives said, ”We are trying to get Kony on his satellite phone to tell him what we have agreed upon. We want him to come out of the bush and participate in the burrial of his mother who loved him very much. After the burrial we want him to denounce the rebellion and live a normal life in his ancestaral village.”

Kony has fought Uganda government troops since 1986. Four years ago, Ugandan army uprooted him from northern Uganda but he transfered his base to southern Sudan. The rebels held peace talks with Uganda governmet in southern Sudan capital of Juba, however Kony refused to sign the final agreement.

December last year, a joint force of Ugandan, southern Sudan and Congolese troops attacked his base in Garamba forests forests in eastern Congo. He fled further into Congo where he is causing havoc disaplacing many people and killing hndreds of innocent civilians.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) indicted Kony and five of his commaders in 2005 but Ugandan government says that if he agrees to sign a peace agreement and denounces the rebellion, he will be forgiven and the ICC indictment will be cancelled.

The 86-year-old Norah Oting lived in a government-rented house for about 10 years. Norah Oting led a quiet life as a housewife in Gulu for many years. She was thrust into the public eye about 20 years ago when her son, Joseph Kony, launched a long, bloody rebellion in Northern Uganda.

Tomented by evil spirit

The media often sought Oting out to try to understand her son and his Lord’s Resistance Army rebels.

Oting was a very religious woman, who believed her son to be tormented by evil spirits. In a 2003 interview with the Gulu-based Lifeline Ministries, she said Kony was possessed with demons that made him act irrationally and forced him into the bush. She said she believed the only way he would abandon his rebellion was by prayer and through peace talks.

In 2006 Norah Oting agreed to be part of a peace team that traveled to the Garamba National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo to convince Joseph Kony to sign a peace agreement with the government of Uganda. Kony had suggested that a meeting with his mother would convince him to take part in the peace talks in Juba.

The meeting marked the first time Kony had seen his mother in 17 years.

Observers to the event said Kony was delighted to meet his mother and he thanked the government for making the get-together possible. Oting referred to Kony and President Museveni as her sons and urged them to talk directly to make a deal. Her wish never came to pass. Kony reneged on a promise to sign a Final Peace Agreement with government and the peace talks fell apart.

She will be burried at a date to be announcd by her relatives.

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