Cablegate: Northern Uganda Notes (May 3-30, 2008)

DE RUEHKM #0735/01 1571146
R 051146Z JUN 08





E.O. 12958: N/A


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.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

2. (U) LRA leader Joseph Kony failed to appear for a meeting at
Rikwangba, southern Sudan with northern elders and legal experts on
May 10. In a statement on May 13, Northern elders condemned the
diaspora who they claim were working against the peace. Kony
allegedly wrote a letter dated May 19 removing hopes for a
negotiation. The message, written in Luo was delivered to Martin
Aliker, a Senior Presidential Advisor through a trusted
intermediary. Kony said he was not ready to sign the agreement
because he feared he would be hanged by a court in Europe or in
Uganda. In the letter, Kony vowed to continue fighting rather than
to surrender and get killed. A member of the GOU peace delegation
said they have not received Kony's communication and that the final
agreement remained available for him to sign. Post has not been
able to authenticate the letter.

3. (U) On May 6 and 7, legal experts explained the provisions for
justice and accountability to northern leaders who were to meet Kony
on May 10. The major issues discussed included the traditional
justice system (mato oput) and the Special Division of the High
Court to be set up to try the rebels for war crimes and crimes
against humanity. The GOU has not renewed the Cessation of
Hostilities Agreement, which expired on April 10. On May 22,
Principal Judge Justice James Ogoola appointed Dan Akiiki Kizza to
head the War Crimes Court, which would handle a trial of top LRA
commanders implicated in crimes against humanity. Two other judges
were appointed on the war court including Justice Eldad Mwangusya
and Justice Ibanda Nahamanya. Justice Ogoola said a team from the
High Court was working out the appropriate structures, personnel,
and tools that would be required.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

4. (U) IDP returns continue at a slow pace across the Acholi
sub-region. The latest UN population movement statistics from March
2008 show 12 per cent of IDPs have returned home, 36 percent of the
IDPs have moved to sites closer to their homes in order to better
access land, and 52 percent of the population remains in the camps.
IDPs have voiced apprehension over Kony's refusal to sign a final
peace agreement, but it does not appear to be adversely affecting
the return process. Local leaders continue to support de-linking the
peace process from return and recovery.

5. (U) UNHCR reports increasing incidents of forced eviction by
landlord's who have been hosting the IDPs. Landlords are levying
rent on IDPs remaining in camps in greater numbers, and pushing IDPs
out who refuse to pay. It is important to note that levying rent in
camps is not a new trend; many IDPs have been paying some low level
of rent. However, there had always been a great deal of leniency.
There is concern that more vulnerable households will be pushed to
more marginal areas. Currently, good statistics on the magnitude of
forced eviction are not available. Thuggery and theft are also
reported on the increase in both return areas and camps.

6. (U) WFP and FAO continue to report that over 80 percent of the
population has access to up to four acres of land, and the trend
towards improved household food security continues. Direct
distribution of agricultural inputs such as seeds and tools were
required in only a few targeted area. The focus of food security
interventions was shifting to farmer-based seed selection and
storage for future seasons; strengthening local seed systems (versus
direct distributions); and strengthening animal health care

7. (U) On May 20, Gulu District Disaster Management Chairman
Charles Uma announced there would be no more emergency relief
supplies for the IDPs. He explained that the security situation had
improved and that many people were returning to their homes. He
encouraged the communities to plan to be self sustaining.

8. (U) UNOCHA reports the Humanitarian Consolidated Appeal (CAP)
for 2008 is 31 percent funded, and aid agencies and government
officials report that emerging humanitarian activities in the north
are being curtailed because of the decline in funding and rising
food costs. Some of the decline might also be attributed to
increases in recovery and development assistance that are not well
tracked through CAP. In May, UNOCHA piloted an Integrated Assessment
Tool to aid the community and local government's decisions on camp
phase out. The tool covers health, education, water and sanitation,
livelihoods, shelter, agriculture and food security and security
(risk of mines and presence of civilian police). The first
assessment was completed in Lalogi sub-county, Gulu District and
will soon be rolled out in other areas.

USG Activities:

9. (U) Extension of basic services such as education, healthcare
and access to safe water, to return areas remained a concern.
Humanitarian agencies and the GOU continue to report high numbers of
children remaining in camps to access schools. Districts in the
Acholi sub-region have prioritized the "return" of primary schools;
however, the teacher:student ratio remains critically low. USAID,
in conjunction with the Ministry of Education (MOE), supports
in-service training, a recruitment incentive for hardship areas, and
is looking at ways to help communities build teacher housing.
USAID/OFDA is rehabilitating and constructing latrines at schools in
return areas, and increasing hygiene education. This promotes girls
participation in education as well as the return process.

10. (U) Hepatitis E continues to spread in Kitgum District. WHO
reports 1991 cases to date. USAID/OFDA partners are increasing
latrine coverage and hygiene promotion in the affected areas,
promotion in the affected areas, and CDC deployed a team May 30. On
Friday May 30, USAID/OFDA traveled to Hepatitis E affected areas in
Kitgum district. Mortality rates are below emergency levels.
However, due to low latrine coverage and poor sanitation the disease
continues to spread. WHO reports a total of 1991 cases since the
outbreak began in October 2007. USAID/OFDA partners IRC and AVIS
are increasing water and sanitation activities in affected areas.
USAID/OFDA recommends further support of these activities. On June
1, a CDC team arrived in Kitgum district to provide support to the

- - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - -

11. (U) Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported on May 19 that the LRA
had carried out more than 100 abductions in the Central African
Republic (CAR), Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and South Sudan
since February. HRW said the captured boys are made to act as
porters or are subjected to military training. The girls are
allegedly used as sex slaves. HRW appealed to the international
community to end the spree of new LRA abductions and sexual
violence, and to execute arrest warrants issued by the International
Criminal Court (ICC) for the group's leaders.

12. (U) On May 20, armed LRA rebels reportedly invaded Kapili
village, 75 kilometers northwest of Dungu, eastern DRC and displaced
the entire population. An unspecified number of people were
abducted. According to the Justice and Peace Commission of the
Dungu Diocese, the rebels looted property and occupied houses that
were left behind by fleeing Congolese villagers. Meanwhile, on May
25, the ICC said it was investigating the alleged abductions and

13. (U) A May report released by the Civil Society Organizations
for Peace in Northern Uganda recommended that all former LRA rebels
and persons holding illegal guns should be disarmed in order to
achieve total peace in the region. The coalition of 77 local and
international NGOs cautioned that the recovered weapons should be
well documented, stored or destroyed.

14. (U) There were reports that the risk of unexploded devices was
slowing down the return of IDPs to their homes. Seven children were
killed in an explosion in the north mid-May. The army said the
explosion was caused by a cluster bomb. Meanwhile, the killing of
Local Council Chairman of Okede village, in Adilang Sub County, by
Karamojong warriors, prompted IDPs, who had returned to their
villages on the border with Karamoja region, to threaten to return
to the camps, if the army did not deploy to protect them.

-- - - - - - - - - - - - -
- - - - - - - - - - - - -

15. (U) In a press statement released on May 26, the ICC appealed to
the international community to put a stop to aid supplies to the
LRA, in order to put a squeeze on its leader Joseph Kony. Media
reports said the ICC was encouraging efforts to capture Kony. The
ICC Registrar, Sivan Arbia was reportedly in Uganda to discuss the
indictments and prosecution of Kony.

16. (U) On May 6 the leader of the LRA delegation, James Obita
refuted media reports that Kony had been injured during clashes with
his troops. He also dismissed talk that Kony had killed his current
Deputy, ICC-indictee Okot Odhiambo.


© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Werewolf: Gordon Campbell On North Korea, Neo-Nazism, And Milo

With a bit of luck the planet won’t be devastated by nuclear war in the next few days. US President Donald Trump will have begun to fixate on some other way to gratify his self-esteem – maybe by invading Venezuela or starting a war with Iran. More>>

Victory Declared: New Stabilisation Funding From NZ As Mosul Is Retaken

New Zealand has congratulated the Iraqi government on the successful liberation of Mosul from ISIS after a long and hard-fought campaign. More>>

Gordon Campbell: On The Current US Moves Against North Korea

If Martians visited early last week, they’d probably be scratching their heads as to why North Korea was being treated as a potential trigger for global conflict... More>>


Gordon Campbell: On The Lessons From Corbyn’s Campaign

Leaving partisan politics aside – and ignoring Jeremy Corbyn’s sensational election campaign for a moment – it has to be said that Britain is now really up shit creek... More>>


Another US Court: Fourth Circuit Rules Muslim Ban Discriminatory

ACLU: Step by step, point by point, the court laid out what has been clear from the start: The president promised to ban Muslims from the United States, and his executive orders are an attempt to do just that. More>>