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DATE=12/1/1999 TYPE=CORRESPONDENT REPORT TITLE=UGANDA / AMNESTY (L ONLY) NUMBER=2-256716 BYLINE=JENNIFER WIENS DATELINE=NAIROBI CONTENT= VOICED AT: 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 homeless. 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) NEB/JW/JWH/ENE/JP 01-Dec-1999 12:48 PM EDT (01-Dec-1999 1748 UTC) NNNN Source: Voice of America .





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