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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 November 2005, 20:22 GMT
Ugandan rebel urges peace talks
By Will Ross
BBC News, Kampala

Ugandan soldier and child
The LRA has abducted tens of thousands of children
A senior commander of the Ugandan rebel group, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), has called for peace talks with the Ugandan government.

LRA deputy commander Vincent Otti also said he would be willing to go to the international court to face justice.

He added that in his view, the government should also face justice for crimes committed in northern Uganda.

The LRA has fought in northern Uganda and Sudan for 19 years, abducting children and forcing them to fight.

Peace talks were attempted a year ago, but broke down.


Mr Otti called the BBC on a satellite phone and said that the LRA was ready to talk.

"I am Lieutenant-General Vincent Otti and want this talk with the government of Uganda to end the rebellion, because now we fought for 20 years, we are ready for this talk from today," he said.

He called on the government to respond to the request for peace talks, and said he was speaking with the backing of rebel commander Joseph Kony.

President Yoweri Museveni
Mr Museveni has taken a hard-line approach

Along with others, these two LRA commanders are wanted by the International Criminal Court based in The Hague for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

The LRA has carried out terrible atrocities for the past 19 years, and the civilians have suffered the most.

Peace talks have been attempted in the past, but with little success, with observers accusing both the rebels and the government of not being committed to the talks.

President Yoweri Museveni has put more emphasis on a military approach to ending the war, and the rebels have been weakened.

However, the LRA continues to carry out ambushes and close to 1.5 million people have been displaced and are living in camps due to the ongoing insecurity.

Since the latest attempt to hold peace talks broke down a year ago, there has been little hope of a negotiated end to the war.

This latest call from the LRA is likely to be welcomed by people in northern Uganda who hold on to any glimmer of hope of the war ending.


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