By Felix Osike
PRESIDENT Yoweri Museveni has agreed to the establishment of peace contact zones where the Acholi religious and cultural peace team can have dialogue with the Lordâ€™s Resistance Army rebels.
The decision was reached after a two-and- half-hour meeting with Acholi religious and cultural leaders at Gulu barracks yesterday.
The peace zones will be named soon, according to the presidential press secretary, Mary Okurut.
â€œThe president re-affirmed governmentâ€™s commitment to a cease-fire if the rebels go to uninhabited areas where there will be observers like the International Red Cross, Non-Governmental Organisations and the World Food Programme,â€ Okurut said, adding that the meeting was fruitful.
The group, led by its chairman Gulu Archbishop John Baptist Odama, re-affirmed its willingness to work closely with the government to reach a peaceful settlement of the northern conflict.
Others present included Bishop Baker Ochola, David Onen, Rwot Achana 11, Sheik Issa Kato, Rwot Joseph Oywak, Fr. Carlos Rodriguez and Cosmas Nam Oryam. The leaders thanked the president for his commitment to the peace process.
The leaders have been spearheading peace talks in the war-torn northern Uganda. But the peace process has been hampered by renewed rebel attacks in Pader, Kitgum, Gulu and Lira districts.
The president reiterated governmentâ€™s commitment to the amnesty law and urged the Acholi religious and cultural peace team to sensitise the rebels about the amnesty. He, however, cautioned the group not to physically meet the rebels, saying it was risky to them.
Kony recently ordered his commanders to kill members of the Acholi Religious Peace initiative if they went back to negotiate for peace.
However, the religious leaders have vowed to push ahead with the peace talks. Ends