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Last Updated: Tuesday, 2 November, 2004, 17:43 GMT
Uganda's rebels seek peace talks
A Ugandan soldier in the Barlonyo camp north of Lira in northern Uganda after a massacre believed to have been committed by the LRA (file picture)
Uganda says it is winning the war against the LRA rebels
The Ugandan rebel group whose attacks have driven more than one and a half million people from their homes says it wants peace talks with the government.

A spokesman for the Lord's Resistance Army, Brigadier Sam Kolo, told the BBC the group believes there is no military solution to the 18-year civil war.

The rebels want President Yoweri Museveni to say the government is looking for a peaceful end to the war.

The LRA has been severely reduced in recent months.

Horror

From an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 fighters in 2002, the army now claims there are less than 200 armed fighters remaining though this claim is impossible to verify.

EIGHTEEN YEARS OF HORROR
100,000 deaths
20,000 children abducted and used as fighters or sex slaves
1.6m people displaced
40,000 "night commuters" - people who flee their homes by night to avoid raids
Sources: Jan Egeland, news agencies

Earlier this year Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said he would order a ceasefire if LRA rebels were willing to hold direct peace talks.

But the BBC's Will Ross in Kampala says President Museveni has always placed most emphasis on trying to inflict a military defeat on the rebels.

The United Nations have described the situation in northern Uganda as the most neglected humanitarian crisis in the world with 20,000 children caught up in the war.

Arrest

Meanwhile, the Roman Catholic Church in Uganda says the Ugandan authorities have arrested a leading priest on suspicion of collaborating with the LRA.

President Yoweri Museveni
President Museveni usually says they are near to winning the war
Archbishop Jean Baptist Odama said Father Matthew Ojara was detained on Monday, and his computer, cell phone and documents were confiscated.

The archbishop said Father Ojara was a member of an interfaith initiative which is seeking to mediate between the government and the LRA.

The Ugandan army confirmed the arrest, but refused to comment further.


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