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LRA rebels demand $600,000 from international donors in exchange for ‘peace’

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The Institute for War and Peace Reporting has been running an excellent series of articles on Uganda’s notorious “Lord’s Resistance Army”, and the various political manoevres being made by the group, and its supporters, to enable it to evade arrest by the International Criminal Court.

Media coverage of this issue tends to focus on claims made by the LRA, and some religous groups, that peace could have been achieved long ago if the group had been granted a blanket amnesty for their crimes. Less well publicised has been the fact that, in addition to demanding, as the price for any peace agreement, impunity for their various acts of mass-rape, murder, torture and mutilation, the Lord’s Resistance army have made repeated demands for large sums of money.

Back in 2006, the government of Southern Sudan admitted paying the LRA $20,000 in exchange for a promise to stop attacking Sudanese civilians.

In August last year, the LRA demanded a further $2 million from international donors, which they said they needed for, amongst other things, flying 500 people to meet LRA leader Joseph Kony, and sending fact-finding missions to South Africa, Sierra Leone and Argentina.

In February of this year, the LRA demanded that the Ugandan government should provide a “golden handshake in cash and kind in recognition of all the LRA delegates and their efforts in brokering peace”.

Now the IWPR reports on the publication of a letter, ostensibly from the LRA lead negotiator David Matsanga, stating that: “the JUBA PEACE process is under siege and there is a danger of it collapsing due to the lack of Funding from the donor community…”

More chillingly, the letter adds that the “cost of war in the region will be much, much higher than the funds that are currently needed by Chief Mediator Dr Riek Machar to complete the Juba Peace Process”.

The IWPR reports that the LRA spokesman recently told the media that:

“We need about 600,000 US dollars to prepare [for] the meeting in Ri-Kwangba and also to carry out negotiations”.

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Written by Richard Wilson

August 1, 2008 at 9:02 am

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