Search

 

Cablegate: Northern Uganda: Lra Defector and Negotiators Welcomed In

VZCZCXRO7945
RR RUEHGI RUEHRN RUEHROV
DE RUEHKM #1720/01 3091146
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 051146Z NOV 07
FM AMEMBASSY KAMPALA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 9601
INFO RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 0667
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUEHTO/AMEMBASSY MAPUTO 0462
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 3393

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 KAMPALA 001720

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PGOV PREF PREL MOPS UG SU
SUBJECT: NORTHERN UGANDA: LRA DEFECTOR AND NEGOTIATORS WELCOMED IN
KAMPALA


1. (SBU) Summary: Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) Operations Chief
Opio Makasi, who fled the group's camp on October 2, and the LRA's
Juba Delegation arrived in Kampala on October 31 and November 1
respectively to warm welcomes and heavy press coverage. The
Government continues to debrief Makasi about the rupture in the
LRA's leadership. The LRA negotiators met with President Museveni
on November 3, signed an extension to the Cessation of Hostilities
Agreement (CHA), and will begin their consultations in northern
Uganda on November 6 in Gulu. The two almost simultaneous arrivals
present a dilemma for the Government's military and civilian camps:
supporting the LRA delegation's consultations while at the same time
wanting to exploit Makasi's defection to encourage others. End
Summary.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
DEFECTOR RECEIVES HERO'S WELCOME
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

2. (U) Opio Makasi, the LRA's chief of operations, fled the LRA's
Garamba Park hideout on October 2 after Joseph Kony arrested deputy
leader, Vincent Otti, along with some top officers and combatants.
Uganda's Chief of Military Intelligence (CMI), Col. Leopold Kyanda,
met the MONUC flight from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
carrying Makasi with full press coverage. On November 1, Makasi and
his wife applied for and were granted amnesty by the Amnesty
Commission after renouncing rebellion. CMI continues to debrief
Makasi and the Government's New Vision newspaper carried an
interview with him on November 4.

3. (SBU) Makasi detailed for the press the rupture between Kony and
Otti and Otti's arrest. He said that Kony had invited Otti to a
meeting at which he was arrested. Makasi feigned illness and did
not go. He fled after being tipped off that he was to be arrested.
Makasi said that there were only 834 people in the camp. Six
hundred of them were fighters, according to Makasi. He stated that
Kony intended on overthrowing the Ugandan Government and in Makasi's
view, Kony would not surrender. Makasi did not know if Otti was
dead or alive. Northern parliamentarian Reagan Okumu told us that
he spoke with Otti approximately one week ago. Otti told Okumu that
he did not have any airtime. A Southern Sudanese General
accompanying the LRA delegation to Kampala said he reached a
surprised Otti after Chissano's failed attempt to see the LRA
leadership. The General said that he tried many numbers before Otti
picked up and whispered that he could not talk at the time. Gulu
District Chairman Mao speculates that Otti was probably alive, but
stripped of his duties. Mao has yet to reach any one in Otti's
camp.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
LRA DELEGATION ARRIVES AMID FANFARE
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

4. (U) The LRA's negotiating team arrived in Kampala on November 1.
The GOU's chief negotiators, Minister of Internal Affairs Ruhakana
Rugunda and Minister of State for International Affairs Okello
Oryem, joined LRA delegation leader Martin Ojul in a two-hour press
conference at which Ojul released a dove, symbolizing peace. Ojul
stated that the U.N. Security Council had the power to suspend the
International Criminal Court (ICC) warrants. Another LRA member
Ayena Odongo said that the ICC warrants were an encumbrance to the
peace process. Separately, President Museveni repeated that Uganda
would not support lifting the warrants without a peace deal. Ojul
apologized to Museveni for the incident in October 2006 when
delegation member Josephine Apire refused to shake his hand. She
has been replaced on the LRA delegation by David Matsanga Norekesh.

5. (SBU) The LRA delegation met with President Museveni on November
3 with the African observers to the talks. Museveni began the
meeting pointing out that Martin Ojul, James Obita, and Santa Okot
were not genuine LRA because Obita and Okot had been members of the
ruling party. Museveni also stated that this was not Ojul's first
visit to Uganda in 20 years as touted in the press. Museveni told
the group that during Ojul's last visit a year ago, he attempted to
smuggle out some of Kony's wives and children but was caught in
Busia, at the Ugandan-Kenyan border by Ugandan immigration
officials. After he finished establishing the LRA delegates' bona
fides, Museveni struck a highly conciliatory tone and encouraged
them to sign a peace deal. He said that they would all be welcomed
back into Uganda. Museveni noted that some of Obita's businesses
and assets had been seized since Obita joined the LRA team and said
that he (Museveni) had instructed Ugandan government officials to
return Obita's assets.

6. (SBU) After the African observers left the room, Museveni
reportedly urged the LRA delegates to conclude a peace deal as soon
as possible. Museveni also urged them to think through what

KAMPALA 00001720 002 OF 002


security guarantees were needed for Kony to come out of the bush.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
CESSATION OF HOSTILITIES AGREEMENT EXTENDED
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

7. (SBU) The Government and LRA extended the Cessation of
Hostilities Agreement (CHA) until January 31, 2008. The Congolese
observer to the talks, Andre Kapanga, objected to an attempt by the
LRA and the GOU to formalize the expansion of the assembly area into
a full circle 30 kilometers into Congo. Kapanga told the LRA
delegation that the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo
did not give permission for the LRA to enter the country. While
there was a gentleman's agreement that the LRA could remain within
30 kilometers from the border while the talks proceeded, the GDRC
would not, in writing, give the LRA permission to be in the country.
Kapanga privately told P/E Chief that the Congolese were concerned
that if the assembly area were extended into Congo, then the Ugandan
Peoples' Defense Forces (UPDF) might try to justify military actions
into the designated assembly areas if the talks failed. The CHA
extension would be reviewed on February 1.

- - - -
COMMENT
- - - -

8. (SBU) Prior to Makasi's arrival, GOU military officials hoped
that his escape and warm reception could be used publicly to
encourage more LRA defections. However, his arrival coincided with
that of the LRA's negotiating team, which could complicate these
plans, according to civilian members of the GOU team. They are
concerned that the LRA negotiators could claim that the GOU's
promotion of defections during the consultations was hostile
propaganda and in violation of the CHA. The Government has not yet
decided on its way forward.
CHRITTON

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
World Headlines

 

Ramzy Baroud: Year in Review Will 2018 Usher in a New Palestinian Strategy

2017 will be remembered as the year that the so-called ‘peace process’, at least in its American formulation, has ended. And with its demise, a political framework that has served as the foundation for US foreign policy in the Middle East has also collapsed. More>>

ALSO:


North Korea: NZ Denounces Missile Test

Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Peters has denounced North Korea’s latest ballistic missile test. The test, which took place this morning, is North Korea’s third test flight of an inter-continental ballistic missile. More>>

ALSO:

Campbell On: the US demonising of Iran

Satan may not exist, but the Evil One has always been a handy tool for priests and politicians alike.

Currently, Iran is the latest bogey conjured up by Washington to (a) justify its foreign policy interventions and (b) distract attention from its foreign policy failures.

Once upon a time, the Soviet Union was the nightmare threat for the entire Cold War era – and since then the US has cast the Taliban, al Qaeda, and Islamic State in the same demonic role. Iran is now the latest example…More


Catalan Independence:
Pro-independence parties appear to have a narrow majority. More>>