Uganda

Uganda: Truce extended by five days

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KAMPALA, 17 March (IRIN) - The Ugandan government on Sunday extended its cessation of hostilities for a further five days, to allow contact between the government peace team and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebel group.
A spokeswoman for the government peace team, Betty Aketch, told IRIN on Monday that this time around the team would make every effort to meet the rebels. "We are determined to meet with the rebels within this new five-day frame limit we have been given by President Museveni," she said.

President Yoweri Museveni's office announced the extension after a meeting between the peace team and an LRA commander, known as "Major Tubley", was cancelled on Friday.

"We failed to meet with the rebels on Friday because they had their own grievances, including that we arrived 30 minutes late. The rebels were also suspicious about the composition of our entire team saying that it was too large," Aketch told IRIN.

She said the LRA objected to the presence of escorts, who travelled with the peace team and were necessary for security reasons.

Meanwhile, Paddy Ankunda, a commander with the Ugandan People's Defence Force (UPDF), told IRIN that the entire northern region was peaceful and calm. The army had not had any serious confrontation with the rebels since 13 March, when two buses full of passengers were ambushed between Gulu and Kitgum. No casualties were reported in the incidents.

Over the last three days, four members of the LRA had surrendered to the UPDF, he added.

[ENDS]

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