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Last Updated: Saturday, 14 April 2007, 21:12 GMT 22:12 UK
Uganda rebels sign new ceasefire
By Karen Allen
BBC East Africa correspondent

Joseph Kony of the LRA
LRA head Joseph Kony has met the UN envoy at secret locations
Uganda's feared Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels have signed a new ceasefire deal with the government.

The move follows months of deadlock between the two sides after talks in Juba, in southern Sudan, broke down.

The deal will renew hopes that an end to the 20-year insurgency the rebels have been fighting is in sight.

The LRA is blamed for killing tens of thousands of people, forcing more than 1.5m to flee their homes and abducting thousands of children.

Cause for hope

The LRA and Ugandan government negotiators have been meeting in secret to try to agree the fresh truce and jump start negotiations that broke down at the beginning of this year.

Under the new agreement the LRA has six weeks to assemble its fighters at Ri-Kwangba near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo.

A similar deal was struck last year but LRA fighters refused to go to the assembly points, fearful that they would be arrested and brought before the International Criminal Court, which has issued indictments against them.

In the past few month, UN special envoy Joachim Chissano has been meeting elusive LRA leader Joseph Kony at secret locations in the jungles of Congo.

It is not clear if any deal has been done this time round to guarantee the security of the LRA leadership, but the fact that official peace talks are to resume in a little over a week's time gives some cause for hope.


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