OCTOBER 26, 2010: Acholi Clergy Want LRA Peace Talks Back

Acholi Clergy Want LRA Peace Talks Back

SOURCE: New Vision

By Patience Aber

The Acholi Religious Peace Initiative has said it is still possible to bring Joseph Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) back to the peace talks table.

In a petition to the US signed by the chairman of the initiative, Bishop Johnson Gakumba, the religious leaders argued that they had spent a significant time dealing with the LRA conflict and, therefore, had a greater understanding of the implications of the conflict in the Great Lakes region.

"A negotiated end to the conflict that leads to the peaceful demobilisation of the combatants would be ideal and, therefore, should be pursued if there is a viable opportunity," the petition read.

The leaders said it was important that they, as experienced peace builders, be given another opportunity to hold peace talks with the rebels.

"We also agree that the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Central African Republic, and Sudan need to be brought on board for any strategy to be successful," the religious leaders said.

This comes after the African Union agreed to support a joint military force by Uganda, the Central African Republic, the DRC and Sudan to fight the LRA.

However the former Gulu [RDC] Col Walter Ochora described as a joke, the belief by the Acholi Religious Peace Initiative [ARLI] that Joseph Kony and the LRA rebel can return to the peace talks table.

He said giving Kony and the LRA rebels another chance to return to the peace talks table will only give them the opportunity to reorganize themselves and cause more atrocities in the great lakes region.

"To believe that the LRA will return to peace talks is peace Jokes the only way to get rid of the LRA war, is to isolate its top commanders like Joseph Kony, Dominic Ogwen and Okot Odhambo," Ochora said.

The faith based organization has also called upon the administration of US president Barrack Obama to involve the civil society in the LRA affected regions while implementing the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009.

In May 2010 Obama signed into law the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act which renews US commitments and strengthens their capabilities to protect and assist civilians affected by the LRA war.

The Obama administration has until November 2010 to develop an implementation strategy.

URL Address: http://allafrica.com/stories/201010270156.html