By Fortunate Ahimbisibwe and Alexis Okeowo
THE Uganda Peopleâ€™s Defence Forces has offered transport, including a helicopter, to Lordâ€™s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels and their families, to speed up their movement to Owiny Kibul and Ri-Kwangba.
The Chief of Military Intelligence and member of the peace team, Col. Leopold Kyanda, told journalists yesterday that the helicopter would be used to transport the sick and elderly as well as carry out evacuations.
â€œThe army has provided a helicopter to assist the LRA members in their movement. Army trucks have also been made available to transport anybody who may not be able to walk, including the sick, injured and the elderly. The trucks will be driven by SPLA members,â€ Kyanda said at the Media Centre in Kampala.
Internal affairs minister and head of the government peace team to Juba, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, said the Government had also provided communication gadgets to ensure contact among the rebels.
â€œThere has been an exchange of communication facilities between the Government and the LRA so that they are able to communicate efficiently as they move towards these positions. This was after we received complaints that there was no effective communication among the LRA. We do not want anything that can injure, jeopardise or undermine the peace process,â€ he said.
He pointed out that the Ugandan team that is monitoring the peace accord had confirmed that the LRA had started moving towards the agreed assembly areas in Southern Sudan.
About the 13-year-old boy who was abducted by the LRA on Thursday, Rugunda said the Government had contacted the LRA deputy, Vincent Otti, to ensure that the boy is released.
Bosco was abducted from Okir, Alele sub-county in Amur district.
â€œWe have alerted Otti and asked him to ensure that Bosco returns home,â€ he said.
The directors of the external and internal security organisations, Makuâ€™ Iga and Dr. Amos Mukumbi respectively, army spokesman Major Felix Kulayije, Juba peace talks spokesperson Lt. Paddy Ankunda and Ugandaâ€™s consular to juba Busho Ndinyenka were present.
The talks resume today in Juba, during which the chief mediator and Southern Sudan Vice-President Dr. Riek Machar, will address both teams.
On Thursday, the LRA accused Uganda of violating the three-day-old truce and ordered its fighters to delay moving to the neutral camps as called for in the accord.
The rebels also said they wanted UN protection for their families as the resumption of the peace talks aimed at ending Ugandaâ€™s 20-year-long war was delayed on Thursday.
The rebels said the UPDF had twice engaged their forces since the truce took effect on Tuesday, injuring two fighters on Tuesday and pursuing others on Wednesday.
LRA also said Kampala exceeded its authority by dictating the safe-passages and told their fighters to ignore the routes.
But Ruganda said the Government could not violet the truce. â€œPresident Museveni embraced the peace talks and he cannot violate a peace accord which he supported. Essentially, the truce is on track with one or two minor incidents. There has been concern about the language of both parties but these will not injure the process.â€