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Cablegate: Northern Uganda Notes (October 6 - 19, 2007)

VZCZCXRO3771
RR RUEHGI RUEHRN RUEHROV
DE RUEHKM #1689/01 3040729
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 310729Z OCT 07
FM AMEMBASSY KAMPALA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9567
INFO RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 0665
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUEHTO/AMEMBASSY MAPUTO 0460
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 3390
RHMFIUU/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KAMPALA 001689

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT PASS TO USAID AND OFDA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREF PREL MOPS ASEC CASC EAID UG SU
SUBJECT: NORTHERN UGANDA NOTES (OCTOBER 6 - 19, 2007)


1. (U) Summary: The following Northern Uganda Notes provides
information on the situation on the ground and USG activities aimed
at meeting Mission 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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PEACE AND RECONCILIATION PROCESSES
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2. (SBU) On October 18 and 19, press reports, Uganda People's
Defense Force (UPDF) officials and Ugandan Government officials
began confirming news reports that Opio Makasi, an 18-year veteran
of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and its chief operations officer
left the LRA camp in Garamba National park, in DRC seeking a United
Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) unit to
which to surrender. On October 9, Makasi had surrendered himself to
a Congolese police unit, which reportedly took him into custody. He
was taken to Kinshasa and was being held by military intelligence,
according to press reports. The Government of Uganda requested
Makasi be turned over to Ugandan officials.

3. (SBU) U.N. Special Envoy for LRA-Affected Areas Joachim Chissano
traveled in the region from October 19-23. Charge attended a donor
meeting with Chissano, who planned to visit Juba and Rikwangba
during the visit. Chissano reported on his earlier meetings with
Central African Republic President Bozize and Democratic Republic of
Congo President Kabila. Chissano thought the launch of the Peace,
Recovery, and Development Plan (PRDP) would help discussions for the
implementing protocol for Agenda Item Two: Comprehensive Solutions.
Chissano met with President Museveni and Ugandan Government
officials before departing for Juba.

4. (U) International Criminal Court (ICC) Chief Prosecutor Luis
Moreno Ocampo called for the criminal prosecution of LRA leader
Joseph Kony and his three top leaders during a briefing on October
18. He insisted that all four LRA indictees charged with war crimes
and crimes against humanity be tried in the ICC in The Hague.
Ocampo noted that the LRA was contributing greatly to instability in
the region and had yet to release sex slaves and children.

5. (U) On October 14, Minister of Internal Affairs Ruhakana Rugunda
emphasized the success of the consultations on Agenda Item Three:
Accountability and Reconciliation of the peace talks. He stated
that the government had consulted with stakeholders in several parts
of the country including Gulu, Lira, Teso, Adjumani, Arua, Mbale,
Masaka, Mbarara, and Masindi. In addition, the GOU consulted with
judiciary officials, academia, and civil society. The consultations
cost USD 400,000 and were funded by The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden
and the United States. According to Rugunda, people across the
country were yearning for peace, accountability, and reconciliation.
Rugunda acknowledged that the LRA had expressed a desire to handle
funds contributed by development partners for their part of the
consultations. However, he confirmed that funds will be handled
only by the mediator on behalf of the Government of Southern Sudan.
Rugunda expressed support for an acceleration of the peace talks.

6. (U) The LRA demanded the immediate release of USD 600,000 for
public consultations and mobilization in Uganda. The LRA accused
the donors of inaction, which in the LRA opinion could cause the
unraveling of the peace talks. Godfrey Ayoo, spokesperson for the
LRA refuted allegations that the funds would be used for the
purchase of weapons and food. The LRA's Juba delegation met with
Government of Southern Sudan mediator Riek Machar to discuss its
plan to visit 20 locations in Uganda as part of its consultation
process.

7. (U) During the October 7 inauguration of the (UPDF) Armored
Brigade Field Engineering Regiment, Chief of Defense Forces Aronda
Nyakairima announced that the army would actively pursue LRA rebels
if a peace agreement was not reached. Nyakairama stated, however,
that the UPDF was committed to a peaceful resolution of the conflict
with the LRA. He cited the integration of former rebels into the
army as evidence of the military's commitment to peace.

8. (U) The Government of Uganda has been attempting to assuage
fears concerning the Sudan People's Liberation Movement's (SPLM)
standoff with Khartoum over implementation of the Comprehensive
Peace Agreement. Northern Ugandans were concerned that the peace
deal reached between the SPLM and the Khartoum government in 2005

KAMPALA 00001689 002 OF 002


was in trouble and that violence could resume in Southern Sudan.

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HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE AND ECONOMIC RECOVERY
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9. (U) On October 15, President Museveni and Prime Minister Apollo
Nsibambi hosted a function to officially close the Joint Monitoring
Committee (JMC) for the Emergency Humanitarian Action Plan for
Northern Uganda, (which had been implemented since May 2006 )and
also launch the Peace, Recovery and Development Plan. At least 500
guests attended the ceremony marking the transition from emergency
assistance to recovery and development in war-torn northern Uganda.
Charge and USAID Peace Support Team Chief attended. The PRDP will
bring USD 606 million to northern Uganda over a three year period,
with the GoU stating it will meet 30 percent of the cost.

10. (U) President Museveni has ordered the immediate dispersment of
PRDP monies to individuals who lost limbs as a result of the
insurgency in the north. He stated that his advisor on northern
issues, Richard Todwong had compiled a list of 1,800 people in Gulu
whose limbs were amputated by the LRA. Museveni complained that
giving the LRA USD 600,000 for consultations as part of the Juba
peace talks while their victims lived pitiable lives was unfair.

11. (U) The World Food Programme began airlifting food to more than
248,000 Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Acholi and Lango
regions affected by floods. Heavier than normal rains since July
continue to affect the region. However, USAID, DFID and ECHO were
concerned about inflated numbers of people affected and assistance
needed. There were concerns that WFP overstated the urgency of the
food needs and opted for expensive air operations in locations
before other less expensive options were fully explored.

12. (U) U.S. Activities: The U.N. Flash Appeal for flood response
requests USD 41.4 million for 300,000 beneficiaries. To date, the
Flash Appeal received approximately USD 6 million from the U.N.
Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and USD 17 million from
donors. USAID/OFDA has provided USD 500,000 for seeds and emergency
shelter materials in the worst affected areas of Teso sub-region.

13. (U) Combined Joint Force - Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) has
actively worked to restore people's livelihood in Northern Uganda.
Over the past year, the CJTF-HOA Civil Affairs Team repaired 75
boreholes. These boreholes bring fresh drinking water to over
300,000 people in war affected areas of Northern Uganda. The
construction of a pediatric ward at the Kitgum District Referral
Hospital, a library in Kitgum and funding to drill 48 new boreholes
in Lira, Pader, and Kitgum Districts have been approved.

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IN THE MEDIA AND THE WEB
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14. (U) The Government of Uganda has spent USD 1.7 billion
combating Kony and rebel forces in the north, according to the
International Action Network on Small Arms (IANSA), Oxfam, and
Saferworld. The security advocacy group published this estimate in
a recently released report entitled "Africa's Missing Billions."
The report asserts that the war in the north subsumed almost half of
Uganda's military expenditure and has disrupted overall economic
productivity. However, the report did note that Uganda has fared
better than some of its neighbors, including Burundi and Rwanda, in
terms of the costs of internal conflict. The report received wide
coverage in the local dailies.

15. (U) The October 19 edition of the government-owned "New Vision"
newspaper led with the headline "Kony, Otti Fight." The article
described an altercation between the LRA leaders over the peace
process and the USD 600,000 demanded for carrying out public
consultations. The article describes a several day long fire-fight
between factions, resulting in Otti and his followers being "put
under some kind of house arrest," according to an unnamed source.
There was no independent verification of violence between the
factions, but the defection of the LRA's operations officer may
reveal more about the alleged fighting.
CHRITTON

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