Cablegate: Northern Uganda Notes (May 19-June 2, 2007)

DE RUEHKM #0968/01 1570352
R 060352Z JUN 07






E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (U) Summary: The following Northern Uganda Notes provides
information on the situation on the ground and USG activities aimed
at meeting Mission's objectives in northern Uganda. These
objectives include promoting regional stability through peace and
security, good governance, access to social services, economic
growth, and humanitarian assistance. Post appreciates feedback from
consumers on the utility of this product and any gaps in information
that need to be filled. End Summary.

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2. (U) Vincent Otti, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA)
second-in-command re-stated the rebel group's demand that the
International Criminal Court (ICC) lift the warrants for the arrest
of its top leaders before any disarmament and demobilization occurs.
Otti made the remarks during a visit by Sky TV reporters, who spent
three days with the LRA leadership at Garamba National Park. The
footage aired on May 25. Otti stated that "we cannot go back to
Uganda without lifting these indictments." Otti claimed that the
GOU had the power to get the indictments dropped. He threatened
that the LRA "has enough to capture power. We were seven, now we
are thousands. Everybody in Uganda wants change, but they cannot do
anything without the barrel of a gun." Otti also said that the LRA
"can fight" if the indictments were not lifted.

3. (U) On May 27, President Museveni condemned Otti's remarks as an
assault on the peace process. On May 30, government negotiators
said that remarks made by LRA's second-in-command, Vincent Otti,
would not deter the GOU from achieving its goals at the
negotiations. The GOU stated that its objectives were reaching an
agreement that will bring lasting peace to Northern Uganda and
Southern Sudan; ensuring that there is no impunity and there is
justice for the victims; satisfying the traditional norms of the
affected communities; and ensuring that the legitimate concerns and
respect for international laws, including the ICC are adequately

5. (U) The peace talks resumed on May 31. A workshop on
accountability issues kicked off the meetings. Acholi traditional
leader, Rwot Acana, presented a paper on traditional reconciliation
and accountability mechanisms.

6. (U) USG Activities: Political/Economic Chief attended a
briefing by the Government of Uganda negotiating team on May 30.

7. (SBU) Cynthia Brady, Conflict Specialist in USAID's Office of
Conflict Mitigation and Management, visited Uganda from May 9-30 to
help the Mission design a new, community-based peace and
reconciliation activity for the conflict-affected areas of northern
Uganda. Within the framework of the Government of Uganda's Peace,
Recovery and Development Plan for Northern Uganda and based on
lessons learned from evaluations of the Northern Uganda Peace
Initiative and the Community Resilience and Dialogue activity, the
new program includes components for (1) peace-building and
reconciliation, (2) economic security and social inclusion, and (3)
access to justice. A solicitation is planned for later this

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8. (SBU) According to U.N. Office for the Coordination of
Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Juba, the Cessation of Hostilities
Monitoring Team (CHMT) was working out proposed assembly routes
after the LRA rejected the Ugandan Peoples' Defense Forces (UPDF)
and Sudan Peoples' Liberation Army (SPLA) proposed routes announced
on May 8. The CHMT announced the routes and reported that various
LRA groups have crossed the Nile and were moving to Garamba National

9. (SBU) On May 19, a group of 75 alleged LRA attacked villages
north of Laihya, Central Equatoria State, Southern Sudan, which is
25 miles west of Juba. One of the homes looted belonged to the
Southern Sudanese Minister of Information, Samson Kwaje, who is also
a member of the mediating team. On May 22, the LRA attacked the
village of Fore, 80 miles west of Juba. Two SPLA soldiers were
killed during an LRA attack on May 23 near the same village. The
LRA group with commander Thomas Kwoyello was believed to be
responsible for these attacks. Reportedly, Kwoyello's group
subsequently sustained serious losses at the hands of a southern

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Sudanese militia group.

10. (U) In LRA-affected northern Uganda, the general security
situation remained calm in Lango, Teso and Acholi regions. In
Kaabong, Karamoja, a WFP truck was attacked and one staff person
killed, reportedly by Karamojong. WFP temporarily suspended
operations. Otuke county, Lira District and portions of eastern
Pader District continue to be affected by Karamajong attacks.

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11. (U) In Lira District, there was a fairly high degree of
movement from Abia, Aliwang and Adwari where there are now less then
1,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the three camps. Many
IDPs were maintaining some minimal contact with their huts in the
camp although they do not stay there permanently. For example, 80
percent of the huts in these three camps were locked with no sign of
residents around, but clearly not abandoned. Over the past month
there has been increased movement of IDPs originating from Pader
District moving from southern Lira into camps in northern Lira
(closer to Pader). IDPs in these did not report land access as a
problem. More than 80 percent of the IDPS still living in the camps
are accessing their original land for cultivation.

12. (U) In Acholi districts, there were no significant changes in
the pattern of movement. The majority of IDPs moving out of the
camps were settling in new sites. Approximately 50,000 IDPs moved
to transit sites in April, increasing the number of IDPs in transit
from 271,000 to 321,000. There was some evidence that the number of
IDPs moving back to their homes is increasing from approximately 1
percent in March to roughly 5 percent in May. (Complete numbers for
May are not yet available.) Similar to the situation in Lango,
approximately 80 percent of the population was accessing land for
cultivation. Land under cultivation also continues to increase. In
Gulu and Amuru districts the amount of land under cultivation per
household was up from 3 acres in June 2006 to 4.4 acres in May

13. (U) IDPs continue to cite lack of safe water sources, lack of
grass for thatching (next season for dry grass is October), fear to
return before peace agreement is signed, lack of farm implements and
tools, and fear of unexploded ordnance at return sites as factors
hindering returns.

14. (SBU) Coordination and U.N. cluster management issues continue.
Overwhelmed by its cluster coordination responsibilities, UNICEF
tried to pass responsibility for Gender-Based Violence (GBV) to U.N.
Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) with two weeks notice. UNFPA
is barely operational. UNFPA might be a good place for GBV to be
covered in the long run, but currently, UNFPA does not have the
capacity to take a leadership role. UNICEF agreed to continue in
its coordination role until a better solution was found. The other
alternative is UNHCR, but it has its hands full, and has only just
begun addressing camp management in an organized manner.

15. (SBU) UNHCR began rolling out the new camp management
guidelines in northern Uganda. Emphasis is being placed on using
the camp management coordination structure to begin planning for
camp closure. This should help facilitate the shift away from camp
leadership to the Local Councilor (LC) system. Currently, these two
tracks run in parallel. Only Lango has a clear process for
degazzetting camps, but over the past week Pader District officials
began drafting procedures for camp closure. UNHCR plans to extend
the process underway in Pader to other districts in Acholiland.

16. (SBU) Land continues to be a key protection issue. While land
disputes were not inhibiting IDP returns, there is no functioning
legal structure to handle disputes. Without legal guidelines or
remedies, the potential for the further marginalization of
vulnerable groups, such as female-headed households and child
mothers continues to exist. Districts are exploring ways to tackle
this matter, but often vulnerable groups are not included in the

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17. (U) The May 25 Daily Monitor published an "Open Letter to the
LRA" by Olara Otuunu, former U.N. Undersecretary for Children and
Armed Conflict and Acholi critic of the GOU. Otuunu accuses the LRA

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and President Museveni of a smear campaign to intimidate him. The
accusation followed press reports in late April which quoted LRA
negotiator David Nyekorach Matsanga as saying that the rebels had
requested the removal of the LRA from the list of international
terrorist organizations, so that Otuunu and others could participate
in the peace process without being labeled as terrorists. Otuunu
denies ever being a member or supporter of the LRA. He does claim a
"long standing relationship (covert and overt) between the Museveni
regime and the LRA leadership." He also calls for the immediate
dismantling of all "concentration" camps in the North.

18. (U) The Daily Monitor published an editorial on May 30 that was
strongly supportive of President Museveni's sharp reaction to
Vincent Otti's comments on Sky TV that the LRA would resume war if
the ICC indictments were not dropped. Under the headline "President
Museveni Right About the LRA," the Monitor called the LRA position
"exasperating." The paper noted that "All people of goodwill have
against their moral conscience chosen peace and sacrificed justice
in the name of ending ... the conflict." It added that "If the
rebels do not see the wisdom in the Juba process, then as the
President correctly puts it, they will surely perish."

19. (U) The Uganda Conflict Action Network posted a statement to
its website announcing that the new U.S.-based Resolve Uganda NGO is
committed to "pressuring U.S. political officials" to engage more
publicly and "advocating for increased international engagement and
renewed investment in the ongoing peace process." The statement
quotes Resolve Uganda Executive Director Michael Poffenberger:
"Resolve Uganda is working with members of the U.S. Senate and House
of Representatives to press President Bush to send a senior-level
diplomat to Juba. "By sending a senior diplomat to Juba, the U.S.
could bring much-needed attention to the talks, and be available to
help at the discretion of the mediator. We are not at all advocating
for a U.S. takeover of the negotiations, but think that the U.S.
should be doing more to see that the African leadership has all the
resources and respect it needs to bring the parties to an

20. (U) Philadelphia Inquirer Editorial Board writer Carolyn Davis
will be coming to Uganda on June 5, accompanying a 16-year-old
northern Ugandan burn victim who received treatment in the U.S. (the
LRA set fire to her family's home while she was in it). The Inquirer
plans to do a series of articles and website posts about Jennifer
Anyayo's journey home to Uganda, and Davis will be "blogging" about

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