Posts Tagged ‘Uganda’
From the Institute of War and Peace Reporting
After announcing that he would sign a peace deal with the Ugandan government on Saturday, November 29, Ugandan rebel leader Joseph Kony again drew a crowd to the jungle camp of Nabanga on the border between South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, DRC.
As Kony has done in the past, he balked, leaving a host of his Acholi tribal and cultural leaders waiting and wanting, along with the United Nations special envoy Joachim Chissano, the talk’s chief mediatory, South Sudan vice- president Riek Machar and a flock of international observers.
While the signing of the agreement would certainly have been a milestone in the history of Uganda, it remains a meaningless document despite the vast amount of time and money spent by international community on the talks, including the provision of food and other supplies to the rebels, over the past couple of years…
Kony has been able to manipulate the international community with his repeated peace overtures. He has devised the perfect ploy: talk peace, and do the opposite.
What’s clear is that Kony will be around for a long time, doing what he wants, when he wants, in part due to the painful indulgence of the international community.
Sadly, the innocent and the defenceless suffer. Maybe now, finally, the international community will wake up.
A few weeks ago I wrote about the aggressive campaign by church-funded lobby groups for the lifting of the International Criminal Court’s war crimes indictments against Uganda’s “Lord’s Resistance Army” rebels.
Now a Ugandan government spokesman has accused the Catholic aid charity Caritas of providing food and medical supplies to the LRA, a proscribed terror group who are continuing to kill and abduct civilians despite repeated attempts to persuade them to make peace.
According to Prof. Tarsis Kabwegyere, Uganda’s Minister for Disaster Preparedness, the ongoing material supplies from humanitarian agencies were helping the group to perpetuate the conflict, and he singled out the Catholic NGO Caritas for particular criticism:
Caritas should stop giving food to the rebels so that they get under pressure to sign the peace agreement. But as long as they continue to get supplies, they will see no reason of ending rebellion
There is a moral question on why [LRA leader] Kony continues to receive food. Whoever is sending food to the jungles is committing a mortal sin, especially if they are Christians.
The supplying of food and medicines by western aid agencies to demobilised ex-combatants is relatively common, as a first step towards reintegration into society. But the gifting of material support to an armed group which is still actively engaged in attacks on civilians seems like a whole different matter.
A church led initiative led to the creation in 2000 of the Ugandan amnesty commission, offering a blanket pardon to any member of the group who laid down their arms, but the leadership continued to hold out until they were indicted by the International Criminal Court in 2005. Since then, the group has been focussed on getting the indictments lifted, a cause in which they have gained considerable support from the Catholic Church and other Christian organisations.
The Caritas website appears to make no mention of support being given to the LRA.