Cablegate: Northern Uganda Notes (December 1 - 31, 2007)

DE RUEHKM #0005/01 0030827
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E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: NORTHERN UGANDA NOTES (December 1 - 31, 2007)

1. (U) Summary: The following Northern Uganda Notes provide
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. (SBU) The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) wrapped up its
consultations in Uganda on December 18. The delegation met with
President Museveni prior to its departure to Juba and again urged
the suspension of the International Criminal Court (ICC) warrants if
a peace deal were signed. The delegation traveled to Juba and
Nairobi. It planned to meet with LRA leader Joseph Kony on/about
January 3 to present the findings of the consultations in Uganda.
The LRA hoped to hold its final consultative meeting between Kony
and approximately 200-300 Ugandans at Ri-kwangba on/about January

3. (SBU) U.N. Special Envoy for LRA-Affected Areas Joachim Chissano
traveled within the region and met with President Museveni on
December 13. He urged flexibility on the January 31 deadline, set
by Presidents Museveni and Kabila in Arusha in September. He met
with the LRA delegation and urged them to focus on completing work
on the accountability and reconciliation mechanisms as quickly as
possible. Chissano traveled to Gulu on December 17 and met with
northern local and traditional leaders. He also opened the Wider
Northern Uganda Conference on Reconciliation in Gulu. He urged the
northern leaders to tell Kony that the mediators were ready to
facilitate a resolution to the conflict. Chissano did not see Kony
on the visit because the LRA delegation had not yet presented the
results of its consultations to him.

4. (SBU) On November 30, six LRA defectors arrived in Uganda,
including Vincent Okema, Captain Sunday Otto, George Okello, Richard
Odonga and two minors. Another seven defectors arrived in Uganda on
December 19. All were granted amnesty except for Okema and Otto,
who had violated an earlier amnesty by returning to the bush in
2003. They will be given presidential pardons on January 3.

5. (U) LRA leader Joseph Kony called Gulu District Chairman Norbert
Mao on December 21. Kony told Mao that Museveni's threat to attack
his base in Garamba National Park and the January 31 deadline
undermined the Juba peace talks. Kony called Museveni's remarks
hostile propaganda, which violated the Cessation of Hostilities
Agreement. Kony said that he was not going to attack or declare war
as he is committed to the peaceful resolution of the conflict. Kony
stated that deadlines should be set in Juba, not Arusha, Kampala, or
Addis Ababa. He stated that the peace deal cannot be signed by
January 31 because his delegation had not concluded their
consultations on agenda item three on accountability and
reconciliation. Kony told Mao that it was now the festive season
and his team needed a break for the holiday. Kony stated that he
was being wrongly judged and that he did not send anyone to collect
bullets or guns and he was not going to declare an attack or
offensive. Kony also complained that his delegation was not
well-facilitated by the secretariat for the peace talks, leading to
some delegation members being held hostage in hotels over unpaid
bills. Mao said that Kony "dodged" him on LRA deputy Otti's fate.

6. (U) President Museveni traveled to Gulu to close the wider
Northern Uganda Conference. While in Gulu, he met with elected,
religious, and traditional leaders. Rwot Acana asked Museveni to
establish a national truth and reconciliation commission headed by a
High Court judge and composed of people of integrity appointed by
the government.

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7. (U) One-third of the internally-displaced persons in northern
Uganda have returned home, according to the U.N.'s Office of the
Coordinator for Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA). Approximately
513,993 of the 1.7 million internally displaced persons (IDPs)
returned to their homes in Teso, Lango, and Acholi regions. Another
429,155 people were in transit near their homes. In Lira and Oyam
districts, eight IDP camps were recommended for de-gazetting by the

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District Disaster Management Committees. Only one camp remains in
Lira with a population of 2,200. An increasing number of people
were moving from camps to transit camps or home villages in Kitgum
district due to the availability of thatching materials for roofs.

8. (SBU) Acholi leaders expressed concerns about the Government's
request for land to be given to the Madhvani Group of Companies for
a sugar factory in Amuru District. President Museveni accused
Acholi leaders of "telling lies" that he wanted to grab land and
give it to investors during a visit to Amuru. He pointed out the
virtues of industrialization, particularly in an area with high
unemployment. During a meeting between President Museveni and local
leaders in Gulu on December 20, Rwot Acana, the Acholi Paramount
Chief, was mandated to hold consultations with the Acholi on the

9. (U) USG Activities: The Presidential Malaria Initiative (PMI)
project allocated approximately USD 10 million from its FY 08
Malaria Operational Plan to combat malaria in Northern Uganda
through multiple interventions such as indoor residual spraying,
long-lasting insecticide treated nets, patient treatment, and
community education. In addition, the Malaria Communities Program
allocated USD 1.5 million to West Nile and Karamoja regions for
three year community-based malaria programs. Indoor residual
spraying programs in Kitgum, Pader, and Amuru districts have been
completed and in the coming months, the spraying program will be
expanded to Gulu, Apac and Oyam districts. Bed net distribution to
pregnant mothers through ante-natal clinics is continuing in 26

10. (U) On December 17, USAID's implementing partner, Research
Triangle Institute International, in collaboration with Ministry of
Health Malaria Control staff conducted a sensitization workshop for
religious, traditional, and government leaders, journalists, and
heads of line ministries at the district level on Indoor Residual
Spraying. Participants learned about the rationale for spraying,
chemical management, and environmental and safety concerns.
11. (U) The Combined Joint Task Force-Horn of Africa (CJTF HOA)
continued work on the construction of a children's ward for the
Kitgum Referral Hospital and a Library in Kitgum. The children's
ward will be 240 square meters in size. It will house a small
clinic and have wards for maternity, delivery, and pediatrics. A
veterinary outreach project will be conducted in Gulu District and
parts of Amuru District in January and February 2008. The
veterinary project will provide inoculation against several common
diseases for cows, pigs, goats, chickens, and dogs. Personnel from
the U.S. Navy Construction Battalions will conduct a site survey in
January to replace a bridge and a culvert in Lira District later in
the year in conjunction with the Ugandan Peoples Defense Force

12. (U) USAID signed a USD 9.5 million contract for the Stability,
Peace, and Reconciliation in Northern Uganda (SPRING) program.
USAID's implementing partner is the Emerging Markets Group (EMG).
The new program focuses on peace and reconciliation, livelihoods,
and access to justice for victims of conflict in northern Uganda.

13. (U) During her visit to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on December 5,
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced U.S. support for U.N.

Special Envoy for LRA-Affected Areas Joachim Chissano's office in
Kampala. In addition, the U.S. assistance totaling USD 330,000 will
support the work of the five African observers to the talks. The
observers, from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kenya, Mozambique,
Tanzania, and South Africa play an important role in
confidence-building and mediating between the two parties.

14. (U) Secretary Rice also announced the provision of USD 1.5
million in immediate support for the disarmament, demobilization,
and repatriation, rehabilitation, and reintegration of

15. (U) USAID's CAPACITY project trained northern medical and
clinical managers in supervisory and performance improvement methods
on December 10 and 11. The training specifically targeted districts
and personnel covered by the Northern Uganda Malaria, AIDS,and
Tuberculosis (NUMAT).

16. (U) USAID's Northern Uganda Advisor participated in a meeting
with actor Ben Affleck during his visit to Gulu on December 14. The
purpose of Affleck's trip was to meet with local organizations
responding to conflict and to raise awareness.

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17. (U) The Ministry of Education met with stakeholders to set
priorities for post-conflict northern Uganda on December 20. They
reviewed the findings of recent assessments and set sector
priorities for the implementation under the Peace, Recovery and
Development Plan (PRDP). The top priority was teacher housing,
followed by teacher recruitment and classrooms. The number of
schools available is directly linked to the return locations of
IDPs. Special needs of certain populations, such as fishing
communities and the disabled, also were discussed. The Ministry
plans to replicate the stakeholders' meeting in Teso and other stops
around the north.

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18. (U) On December 16, suspected LRA rebels raided a Catholic
mission in Duru, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), near the border
with Sudan. Duru is approximately 90 kilometers from Dungu. The
suspected LRA looted the Comboni mission and hospital, briefly
holding an Italian priest hostage.

19. (U) The Government of Uganda and the Democratic Republic of
Congo held the Fifth Session of the Uganda-DRC Joint Permanent
Commission on December 12 in Kampala. The last meeting was held 10
years ago. Issues discussed included the presence of the LRA in
Garamba National Park. Three working groups on defense and
security, social economic cooperation, and political and diplomatic
relations worked on resolving outstanding issues. Both parties
agreed to normalize diplomatic relations by March 2008.

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20. (U) "Museveni Blasts Kony for Killing Otti" was the New
Vision's December 21 headline. During his visit to northern Uganda,
Museveni publicly criticized Kony for killing Otti. "He killed
Otti. Who is he? Those that he is killing are Ugandans. Otti and
the rest should have been killed by the law of Uganda but not Kony.
What right do you have to kill others?" Museveni also stated, "Kony
wants to come from the bush alive but he killed Otti. When he
comes, what will he tell the people?" "What I know is that the two
quarreled over some USD 600,000 from donors." Museveni described
Kony as an illiterate who would be defeated through peaceful or
other means.

21. (U) Museveni cautioned Rwot Acana from using the word
"irreversible" to describe the peace talks because he (Museveni)
follows "what Kony is thinking." "The peace is reversible because
Kony is weak and that is why he has fled to Garamba." Museveni said
that he was convinced Kony could be defeated militarily, but he was
persuaded by northern leaders to accept the peace process.

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