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Last Updated: Monday, 31 July 2006, 15:20 GMT 16:20 UK
Uganda officials 'meet LRA chief'
Vincent Otti (r), Riak Machar (l)
The talks are taking place on the DR Congo-Sudan border
Local leaders from northern Uganda say they have met the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebel leader Joseph Kony for informal talks in southern Sudan.

Gulu district commissioner Walter Ochora said they spoke near the DR Congo border, close to where other LRA members are attending peace talks.

The meeting was meant to persuade Mr Kony to attend the formal talks, where he was expected on Sunday.

Instead he sent his 14-year-old son, Salim Saleh Kony, to appease mediators.

The teenager, wearing black gumboots and a red t-shirt, was accompanied by about 20 rebels and did not deliver any message to the delegation of Ugandan elders and church leaders and southern Sudanese mediators.

Bush meeting

Relatives of the rebels who still live in Uganda also joined the informal bush meeting with Mr Kony.

The discussions, led by southern Sudanese Vice-President Riek Machar, are part of efforts to persuade the elusive rebel leader to join formal peace talks to end the insurgency in northern Uganda, where the LRA has killed and maimed thousands.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has offered an amnesty to the LRA leaders if they agree to give up their weapons.

But the International Criminal Court (ICC) has issued arrest warrants against Mr Kony and other LRA leaders on war crimes charges.

LRA killed and maimed thousands during the war, and routinely captured children to use them as soldiers or slaves.


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