In an unprecedented move, the Ugandan rebel group, Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), has announced that it is tired of fighting and wants peace.
It’s spokesman, David Matsanga revealed during an interview that the Lord’s Resistance army is committed to peace talks negotiations. He also mentioned that LRA is willing to go back to the negotiation table and talk peace. According to him, the group will not engage itself in war with the Government of Southern Sudan, as they seek lasting peace in the region.
“We are committed to negotiate as part of a plan to end fighting in southern Sudan. We are very much committed to the UN negotiations headed by former Mozambique president, Joaquim Chissano,” Matsanga said.
The surprise announcement comes days after reports from the Democratic Republic of Congo revealed that the rebels had attacked villages in very remote areas of the north-eastern county, Isiro-Niangara, where they killed and maimed several people during the Christmas season; a repeat of the 2008 Christmas season massacre when the LRA attacked and killed over 100 people praying in a village church in the same country.
LRA rebels started fighting the government of Uganda in the mid 1980’s in the northern part of the country. When Uganda army put much pressure on them they relocated to southern Sudan and later established a base in Garamba forest in eastern Democratic republic of Congo.
From 2006 up to 2008, the rebels and government of Uganda held peace talks facilitated by UN. But rebel leader Joseph Kony refused to sign the final peace agreement.
In December 2008, a joint force of troops from Uganda, southern Sudan and Democratic republic of Congo attacked their base in Garamba forest and the rebels dispersed in disarray and started operating in small groups in DR Congo and southern Sudan. Later some of their groups moved to the Central African Republic but the joint force continued pursuing them.
One of the top commanders, identified as Brigadier Bok Abudema was last week killed in Central African Republic. Up to today, the group continues to attack villages in Congo and southern Sudan.
However, Uganda army spokesman, Lt Col Felix Kulaigye, fervently believes the LRA is a spent force, “We will soon eliminate the LRA rebels. They fled from Uganda but we are following them wherever they are hiding and killing them from there. I advise those still alive to surrender and seek for amnesty.”