TITLE=UGANDA / AMNESTY (L ONLY)
INTRO: Uganda is considering a limited amnesty to
anti-government rebels in hopes of stopping the
nation's long and bloody civil war. Jennifer Wiens in
Nairobi reports the amnesty would be a major policy
reversal for Uganda's president, who until now was
intent on defeating the rebels militarily.
TEXT: The Ugandan parliament is expected to approve
the bill giving rebel fighters an amnesty if they will
surrender and give up their weapons within six months.
The amnesty represents a new approach to ending a 12-
year rebellion against the Ugandan government. Until
now, President Yoweri Museveni has used Uganda's
military to battle the two main rebel groups, the
Lord's Resistance Army (L-R-A) and the Allied
Democratic Forces (A-D-F).
Hundreds of people have been killed in the fighting,
and an estimated 400-thousand people have been left
Thousands of children also have been victims of the
civil war - abducted by both the L-R-A and the A-D-F
to serve as fighters or porters. And, Uganda's
economy also suffered, with billions of dollars of the
government's budget going to the military.
The instability from the civil war, and growing
domestic and international pressure to find a way to
stop the fighting, apparently prompted President
Museveni to back away from the military option and
look for a political solution.
He first offered the idea of an amnesty in June,
saying L-R-A leader Joseph Kony would be forgiven if
he came out of hiding.
The new amnesty offer is open to both L-R-A and A-D-F
members who are based mainly in the north of Uganda
and are supported by Sudan.
Critics of the amnesty say the rebel fighters have
committed too many atrocities to be forgiven by their
victims or reintegrated into society. (Signed)
01-Dec-1999 12:48 PM EDT (01-Dec-1999 1748 UTC)
Source: Voice of America
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