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Cablegate: Northern Uganda Notes (August 1-31, 2008)

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RR RUEHGI RUEHRN RUEHROV
DE RUEHKM #1267/01 2531306
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 091306Z SEP 08
FM AMEMBASSY KAMPALA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 0693
INFO RUEHKH/AMEMBASSY KHARTOUM 0737
RUCNIAD/IGAD COLLECTIVE
RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE
RUEHGI/AMEMBASSY BANGUI 0022
RUEHTO/AMEMBASSY MAPUTO 0500
RUEHSA/AMEMBASSY PRETORIA 3482
RHMFIUU/CJTF HOA

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 KAMPALA 001267

SENSITIVE

SIPDIS

DEPARTMENT PASS TO USAID AND OFDA

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREF ASEC EAID UG SU CG
SUBJECT: NORTHERN UGANDA NOTES (August 1-31, 2008)

KAMPALA 00001267 001.2 OF 003


1. (SBU) 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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PEACE AND RECONCILIATION PROCESSES
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2. (SBU) UN Special Envoy for the LRA-Affected Areas Joachim
Chissano traveled to the region from August 13-19. His team had put
in place arrangements with Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) leader
Joseph Kony to meet with his negotiators on August 24. The meeting
did not take place. Kony blamed a skirmish between the Sudan
Peoples' Liberation Army (SPLA) and the LRA, and a stand-off between
the SPLA and the NGO CARITAS over a donor-provided food delivery on
August 21. Two SPLA soldiers were reportedly killed in the
skirmish. Kony contacted Chissano's office in Kampala and requested
that the meeting take place on/about September 6.

3. (SBU) On August 5, the Government of Uganda (GOU) granted James
Obita, the former leader of the LRA negotiating team, amnesty.
Justice Peter Onega, The Chairman of the Amnesty Commission,
announced the extension of the Amnesty Act for two years. The law
was enacted in January 2000 for six months and has been renewed
successively since then. It provides for blanket amnesty to
Ugandans who denounce rebellion. A total of 12,841 former LRA
rebels have been granted amnesty since the establishment of the
Amnesty Commission in 2000. Overall, 22,921 ex-fighters and
collaborators from various rebel groups have been granted.

4. (SBU) USG Activities: In early August, the GOU began formal
discussions to design a transitional justice process for implanting
key elements of the agreements on Accountability and Reconciliation
from the Juba peace process. A retreat was hosted by the Justice,
Law and Order Sector (JLOS) and included presentations by the Chief
Justice, the Principal Judge of the High Court, the Minister for
Justice and Constitutional Affairs and the Minister for Internal
Affairs. JLOS is scheduled to present a proposal for an integrated
transitional justice system to Cabinet by November; the proposal
will deal with legal and institutional mechanisms for war crimes,
traditional mechanisms and the relevance of truth-telling and
national reconciliation. The USG will support this process through
legal and technical assistance from the Public International Law and
Policy Group (PILPG).

5. (SBU) In recent weeks, Uganda's Amnesty Commission has
distributed 231 USG-funded reintegration packages to amnestied
ex-combatants in Gulu, Kitgum, Kampala and Kasese. Hundreds more
packages are scheduled for distribution in the coming month to new
reporters and the backlog of cases from 1 January 2006 who have not
yet received reintegration support from the GOU. In addition to
reintegration packages, the USG has supported the International
Organization for Migration (IOM) in providing health and
psychosocial care to former LRA who are currently in GOU custody.
IOM also supported traditional cleansing ceremonies for several new
reporters in their home communities. On August 26, the Ambassador,
USAID Director, and P/E Chief briefed Resolve Uganda Executive
Director Michael Poffenberger on USG engagement in northern Uganda.

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HUMANITARIAN ASSISTANCE AND ECONOMIC RECOVERY
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6. (SBU) Prime Minister Apolo Nsibambi announced on August 7 that
The GOU has earmarked 158 million USD for police, judiciary,
education, health, and water and sanitation in its 2008/09 budget
for northern districts under the Peace, Recovery and Development
Plan (PRDP). Minister of Education and Sports Namirembe Bitamazire
announced that the GOU will construct 4,215 houses for teachers in
the 40 districts covered by the PRDP. The first PRDP Monitoring
Committee meeting will take place on September 30. Parliamentarian
Ronald Reagan Okumu, from Aswa County, Gulu District, told
Parliament that government support was lacking in return areas,
where about 80 percent of the people displaced by the LRA conflict
had returned to their homes.

7. (SBU) USG Activities: USAID Mission Director David Eckerson

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visited Gulu, Pader and Lira districts from August 21-24, 2008 on
his first trip outside Kampala since arriving in Uganda four weeks
ago. In meetings with local authorities, traditional and religious
leaders, USAID implementing partners and local communities, he
listened to hopes for the signing of a final peace agreement with
the LRA; plans for reconciliation and healing as displaced people
return to their homes or take up permanent residence in former
camps; and presentations as to how USAID-funded activities are
helping in the transition from humanitarian relief to recovery and
development. He emphasized to implementing partners the importance
of working with and strengthening the capacity of local authorities
and non-governmental entities, and harmonizing USAID activities with
district development plans and results frameworks under the PRDP. A
highlight of the visit was a ceremony in Opit on August 22, near
Joseph Kony's birthplace of Odek, where local authorities presented
tokens of appreciation to former IDP camp commanders for their
voluntary service to communities during the worst years of conflict

8. (SBU) USAID/Office of Transitional Initiatives (OTI) approved
four new grants totaling approximately 120,000 USD. The first is a
Hepatitis E grant with the Gulu District Health Department for
17,000 USD. On August 1, Ministry of Health and the World Health
Organization launched an emergency plan to fight the Hepatitis E
epidemic focused on teaching residents about proper hygiene,
improving sanitation through construction of boreholes and pit
latrines in IDP camps, and monitoring and treating infected people
in northern Uganda. The second grant was to restore Odek local
government administrative offices, which will allow sub-county
officials to move back to their offices and begin providing services
to their constituents. OTI cleared its first two grants in Amuru
District.

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SECURITY UPDATE
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9. (SBU) On July 31, Save the Children Uganda Deputy Country
Director John Reinstein demanded the immediate and unconditional
release of children under LRA captivity. He stated that it is
important to pressure Joseph Kony to release the children despite
the stalling of the peace process. Reinstein noted that over 5,000
Uganda children were still missing, but the group expected only
1,500 to return home.

10. (SBU) In May 2008, the International Committee of the Red Cross
(ICRC) conducted a joint review on the implementation of two MOUs
signed between the ICRC and the Uganda Peoples' Defense Force (UPDF)
and the Uganda Police Force (UPDF), to integrate International
Humanitarian Law within military doctrine, training and operations.
As a result, 25 UPDF instructors and legal officers, including
military media and medical staff, attended the seventh two-week
"Training of Trainers" course in Jinja. In April 2008, 500 UPDF
soldiers and 173 police officers attended human rights information
sessions in northern Uganda.

11. (SBU) From April to June 2008, ICRC training in principles of
humanitarian law reached 400 UPDF soldiers at Fourth Division
military training camp; 75 participants in Awach camp; local
leaders, administrators and the general public in Gulu and Amuru
Districts; 98 local leaders and 60 community members in Kitgum
District; and 96 UPDF soldiers and 173 police in Pader District.

12. (SBU) Security agencies in the north intensified the search for
weapons abandoned during the conflict. On August 4, Fourth Division
Spokesperson Captain Ronald Kakurungu said the Army, police, and
humanitarian agencies worked together to clear return areas of
weapons, ordnance, and landmines. He reported that 175 submachine
guns, 60 rocket-propelled grenades, five mortars, three pistols, 67
grenades, 75 land mines, three machine guns, 159 bombs of mortar and
airdrop types, and 10,228 rounds of live ammunition were recovered.


13. (SBU) On August 11, Uganda's Principal Judge James Ogoola
stated that the War Crimes Court set up to try crimes committed in
the north cannot start operations before a law outlining its
modalities is enacted. Ogoola said the law would define what
constitute serious war crimes and determine sanctions for those
crimes.

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KAMPALA 00001267 003.2 OF 003


FROM THE MEDIA AND THE WEB
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14. (SBU) On August 19, IRIN's PLUSNEWS reported on food insecurity
facing northern Uganda due to bad weather and lack of adequate farm
inputs. IRIN Gulu Senior Agricultural Officer Jackson Lakor expects
lower productivity in the coming months due to drought, land
deterioration, and high demand from southern Sudan leading to food
shortages in the region.
BROWNING

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