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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

UGANDA: LRA breaks ceasefire

KAMPALA, 5 March 2003 (IRIN) - The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebel group, led by Joseph Kony, broke the ceasefire it declared on Saturday by killing 10 people and abducting 50 others over the weekend, Paddy Ankunda, a Ugandan army commander told IRIN on Wednesday.

The 10 were killed in Dure and Mucwini in Pader and Kitgum districts of northern Uganda, while most of the 50 abductees were taken from a primary school in Omoro county in Gulu, he said. Of the 50 abductees, over 20 had subsequently been "rescued" by the army in Lalogi and Mucwini in Kitgum and Gulu respectively, he added.

"I really doubt Kony's decision [about the ceasefire] because he seems not to have any control over his commanders. If he were serious with his commanders, then he had better inform all his commanders to immediately stop the abductions and killings," said Ankunda.

In the case of a ceasefire, the army would also expect the LRA to gather in one point and nominate a team to negotiate with the government, he added.

A member of parliament for Aswa County and a member of the government's peace team, Regan Ronald Okumu, said the attacks could have occurred due to communication difficulties between Kony and his fighters.

"The rebels should be given some time put into action what they have declared," he said. "A ceasefire takes time and I think the rebels are committed to what they said, if not they wouldn't have declared it. In any case even after they have declared [a ceasefire] and the army attacks them they have the right to hit back to defend themselves."

The ceasefire announcement was greeted with joy by local residents in Gulu who jammed the streets in celebration over the weekend.

Themes: (IRIN) Conflict

[ENDS]

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