News & Analysis Blog Posts
The Monitor is reporting that the fate of LRA’s second-in-command, Vincent Otti, remains a mystery after an alleged fight between him and LRA leader Joseph Kony last week. Kony’s signaller, Labal Piny, is reportedly in possession of Otti’s satellite phone set. UN special envoy Joaquim Chissano, who traveled to meet the rebels this week, was told Otti is sick with cholera. No verifiable information is currently available as to what may have sparked the disagreement between the rebel leaders. Meanwhile, the LRA delegation to the peace talks has vehemently denied that there is any split within the rebel ranks. The LRA delegation has also promised to come to Uganda this week for long delayed “consultations” on the third agenda item of the Juba talks: accountability and reconciliation.
Former LRA senior commander, Opio Makasi is expected to be flown to Kampala by the United Nations on Tuesday, officials have said. The New Vision originally broke the story of Makasi’s defection to UN forces in Congo last week. Makasi will be taken to Beni, for documentation at Uganda’s Amnesty Commission offices before being flown to Kampala, security sources said. Read more at The Monitor.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor has expressed concern that food aid supplied to the LRA is being sold by them so that they can rearm if current peace talks fail. “Joseph Kony and the three other indicted commanders have regained strength and financial means,” Luis Moreno-Ocampo told diplomats earlier this month. “We ask partner states to monitor with utmost vigilance supply networks, possible diversion of aid and funds to the benefit of the sought individuals.
LRA commander Opiyo Makasi, who surrendered to UN peacekeepers (MONUC) last week with his
LRA rebels in the DR Congo and South Sudan failed to meet with UN special envoy Joaquim Chissano, claiming that commander Vincent Otti has cholera. However, recent reports of infighting between rebel factions loyal to Otti and leader Joseph Kony raise concerns that internal divisions are behind the decision to avoid meeting Chissano. Read more at The Monitor.
Yesterday morning, the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Africa held a hearing on “Exploring the U.S. Role in Consolidating Peace and Democracy in the Great Lakes Region,” specifically looking at the situation in northern Uganda.
Senator Russ Feingold of Wisconsin and Senator Bill Nelson of Florida attended the hearing and questioned a panel of expert witnesses, including Assistant Secretary of State Jendayi Frazer, the U.S.’ top diplomat for Africa.
While the hearing was a great step forward in terms of drawing attention to the crisis in Uganda, we were disappointed by both the lackluster attendance from Committee members (especially after so many of you called to express your desire that they come) and by the Assistant Secretary’s continued support for imposing a timeframe on the ongoing negotiations, a factor that could jeapordize the entire process.
We hope that the Assistant Secretary meant what she said about increasing both active U.S. diplomacy and robust assistance programs in the region and will continue to advocate that the U.S. live up to this promise.
Thanks to all of you who made phone calls to help build the profile of this hearing on the Hill!
In our continuing Wednesday focus on northern Uganda’s neighbors, we look today at developments in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). A new report by Human Rights Watch, titled “Renewed Crisis in North Kivu,” details crimes against civilians by Congolese army soldiers, troops of renegade general Laurent Nkunda, and combatants of a Rwandan opposition force called the Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda (FDLR). A shaky ceasefire between the Congolese army and Nkunda
The office of the Presidential Special Adviser on northern Uganda has registered over 1,800 people in the Acholi sub-region who have been maimed in the two-decade conflict. President Museveni gave a directive to register all people maimed, who can then receive plastic surgery. Richard Todwong, the special presidential advisor, said that victims need financial support for the rest of their lives since many have permanent damage like lost limbs and broken families as a result. Read more at The Monitor.
LRA spokesman Godfrey Ayoo denied recent reports that there has been a split between LRA leader Joseph Kony and his deputy Vincent Otti, saying that,