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UN, AU envoys encourage LRA to abandon rebellion

By Vision Reporter

Added 6th November 2013 12:26 PM

Top African Union and United Nations envoys have encouraged fighters of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) to lay down their weapons and abandon rebellion.

UN, AU envoys encourage LRA to abandon rebellion

Top African Union and United Nations envoys have encouraged fighters of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) to lay down their weapons and abandon rebellion.

By Raymond Baguma

Top African Union and United Nations envoys have encouraged fighters of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) to lay down their weapons and abandon rebellion.


This was at the end of a joint two-day visit by Francisco Madeira, the AU special envoy for the LRA and Abou Moussa, the special representative of the UN Secretary General, to Bangui in Central African Republic and Juba in South Sudan.

The two envoys held meetings and issued a statement on the LRA conflict calling on fighters to abandon their leader Joseph Kony. The two officials were accompanied by the head of the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA).

Madeira said, “We know that women and children were forcibly recruited by the LRA commanders. We tell them not to be afraid of anything either. In case of withdrawal from the LRA, they will be welcomed, their security will be guaranteed and discussions will be initiated to organize their social reintegration or their resettlement.”

The call came after the UN announced in September that they had received reports of a possible defection and disarmament of a group of 1,200 LRA fighters in a place called Nzako, in south-east CAR. The UN and the AU envoys indicated that contact and assembly points have been established in areas that are likely to contain LRA fighters.

Presently, Ugandan troops are the most active troop contributing country under the taskforce to hunt for the LRA leaders who remain a regional threat.  The AU regional taskforce was initially supposed to include 5,000 troops from the LRA-affected countries of South Sudan, Uganda, DR Congo and CAR.

To this taskforce, Uganda contributes the bulk of over 2,000 troops while the other countries which include CAR, DR Congo and South Sudan are beset with domestic security challenges.

The army spokesperson Lt. Col. Paddy Ankunda could not be got immediately for comment. But recently the Chief of Defence Forces Gen. Katumba Wamala said the UPDF would grant safe passage and not attack defecting LRA fighters surrendering to the UN.

Maderia and Moussa also met with the CAR leaders Nicolas Tiangaye and Michel Djotodia who assented to continuation of operations by the AU Regional Task Force (RTF) hunting the LRA leaders.

According to a statement issued at the end of the visit, the envoys proposed a regional summit for the LRA affected countries to discuss and give new impetus to the implementation of the regional operation against LRA.

Kony and his top commanders are wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) to answer charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

 

UN, AU envoys encourage LRA to abandon rebellion

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