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Cablegate: Northern Uganda Notes (September 8 - September 21, 2007)

DE RUEHKM #1485/01 2681337
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E.O. 12958: N/A

1. (U) Summary: The following Northern Uganda Notes provides
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) President Yoweri Museveni and Congolese President Joseph
Kabila signed an agreement in Arusha, Tanzania on September 8 that
established a 90-day timetable after which Congo would take action
against Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in Garamba National Park. The
Congolese armed forces were working with the U.N. Mission in the
Congo (MONUC) on training integrated brigades and plans to attack
the "negative forces" in eastern Congo.

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3. (U) On September 13, the LRA's Juba spokesman Godfrey Ayoo
declared that any attacks on LRA bases in eastern Congo would
reignite the war in the north. Ayoo's comments were in response to
the agreement that was signed in Arusha between President Museveni
and Congolese President Joseph Kabila, and remarks made by Africa
Bureau Assistant Secretary Jendayi Frazer on September 5. Ayoo
asserted that the 90-day timetable in the Arusha agreement was
hostile propaganda and violated the Cessation of Hostilities
Agreement and the spirit of the Juba peace talks. Ayoo threatened
that "any attack on the LRA will be a declaration of war, and it
will be a call on the Lord's Resistance Army to fight its way back
to Uganda and should this peace process break, then the Lord's
Resistance Army will fight until it overthrows the government of the
Ugandan dictatorship that knows nothing else but war-mongery and

4. (U) A Voice of America report quoted a response from Ugandan
Minister of Defense Crispus Kiyonga. "The Government of Uganda
remains fully committed to the peace process and talks in Juba, and
it is our expectation that soon we should reach agreement with the
LRA so that they can have a soft landing and return home," said
Kiyonga. "The LRA is not in a position to overthrow the Government
of Uganda. We are talking so that our brothers and sisters come
back home and have a soft landing."

5. (U) On September 8, Vincent Otti, LRA deputy took part in the
Gulu-based Te-Yat radio program. Otti reiterated his concerns about
the International Criminal Court (ICC). He also stated that he
would not sign any peace agreement that would incriminate him and
put him in jail. Otti declared that there were over 3,000 "bombs"
in northern Uganda. He asserted that effective eradication of these
weapons could be done only by the LRA. UPDF's northern spokesman,
Lt. Chris Magezi, stated that the UPDF had recovered almost 300
different types of weapons and ordnances within villages.

6. (U) USG Activities: AF Bureau Senior Advisor for Conflict
Resolution Tim Shortley traveled in the region from September 5-17.
He emphasized the importance of establishing a clear and reasonable
timetable for the peace process, and looked at the administration of
the mediation secretariat, and the launch of the Peace, Recovery,
and Development Plan for northern Uganda.

7. (U) Africa Bureau Deputy Assistant Secretary for Africa James
Swan served as the chief mediator of the U.S.-facilitated Tripartite
Plus Commission, which met in Kampala from September 15-17. The
process brings together Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo,
Rwanda, and Uganda to discuss and coordinate dealing with negative
forces operating against various member states, improvement and
upgrading of diplomatic relations, and development of a common most
wanted list and an extradition treaty.

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8. (U) The official phasing out of internally-displaced persons
(IDP) camps in Lango sub-region began on September 18. The GOU
stated that the phase-out illustrated its commitment to a peaceful
resolution of the LRA conflict and the reconstruction of the north.

9. (SBU) The U.N. Food and Agricultural Organization initiated a
food drive to meet the needs of returning IDPs. The regions of

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Lango, Acholi, and Teso are currently participating in the cassava
planting program that was launched in November 2006. Other crops
being harvested include maize, rice, sweet potatoes, ground nuts,
sorghum, sim sim and millet.

10. (U) Severe flooding has cut off roads in 25 districts in the
northern districts of Teso, Lango Acholi, Karamoja, and West Nile
regions. Bridges in Pader and Gulu districts have become
impassable. On September 12, Prime Minister Apollo Nsibambi called
an emergency meeting to address the disaster. The Government
dispensed by boat emergency supplies and food such as maize and
beans. Non-governmental organizations such as World Health
Organization, UNICEF, Lutheran World Federation, the International
Committee of the Red Cross, and Population Services International
have donated funds and pledged blankets, mosquito nets, plastic
sheeting, and water treatment tables. A spike in disease and
infections was expected.
11. (SBU) USG Activities: On September 14, the U.S. Ambassador to
Uganda declared a disaster for the flooded districts in northern
Uganda, resulting in the release of USD 100,000 to provide
assistance to affected areas. A joint USAID-Uganda and Office of
Foreign Disaster Assistance assessment team had visited the flood
affected Teso region from September 4 to 7. Early reports issued
suggested that over 150,000 people were affected. The U.S.
assessment team found the number to be 50,000. Assistance to be
provided includes food, plastic sheeting, seeds, and cuttings for
the forthcoming planting season. The cumulative effects of the
rainfall have begun to compromise the structural integrity of many
dirt homes, contaminate wells, inundate latrines, and wash away
seeds and cassava cuttings. The USAID team also reported
significant crop loss, minimal food reserves, and a lack of planting
material for the upcoming agricultural season. An additional USD
400,000 has been released from Washington to aid flood victims.
12. (SBU) The USAID-funded Community Resilience and Dialogue
Activity (CRD), implemented by International Rescue Committee
(lead), Associazione Volontari peri il Servizio (AVSI), CARE,
Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and Save the Children Uganda (SCiU),
closed on August 31. The USG contribution of USD 15.5 million
focused on the rehabilitation and development for individuals in
conflict-affected areas in northern Uganda. CRD reintegrated over
4,700 formerly abducted children and ex-combatants, initiated
economic development opportunities in affected areas, created peace
clubs, and increased education for children affected by HIV/AIDS.

13. (U) On Friday September 21, representatives from the Office of
Food for Peace, Office of Transition Initiatives, Office of Foreign
Disaster Assistance, Africa Bureau, and the Uganda Mission met to
develop an integrated USAID strategy for the transition from
humanitarian assistance to sustainable development for Northern
Uganda. The integrated strategy is to function as a guide and
tactical planning framework to assist in coordinating development
progress across USAID offices to ensure success in the peace
process, the return of internally displaced people, the
reintegration of former combatants and the mitigation of future

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14. (U) On September 21, the Ugandan Peoples' Defense Forces
announced that it had court martialed 120 soldiers for capital
offenses such as murder, rape, defilement, and armed robbery in
northern Uganda since September 2006, according to spokesman Lt.
Chris Magezi. The UPDF's disciplinary committee tried cases of
minor offenses. The cases of 21 soldiers were still at trial at the
Fourth Division Court Martial. Magezi said "the UPDF image is
sacred and therefore the army will continue to guard it. It will
not hesitate to punish any soldier who engages in criminal
activities that breach the army's standard operating procedures."

15. (U) USG Activities: On September 21, USAID, DOJ/ICITAP, and
Embassy personnel participated in a lessons-learned review of the
pilot community justice activity in Lira District that ends on
September 30. These lessons will feed into any future activities in
security sector reform; justice, law and order; and community
policing. The goals of the four-month pilot project were to provide
training for police trainers and improve the coordination between
police, prosecutors, and magistrates in support of re-establishment
of a civilian-controlled judicial system in Lira District. Four
police advisors and a prosecutor worked with the Ugandan Police
Force and judges to design a one week community policing program

KAMPALA 00001485 003 OF 004

aimed at training newly-recruited Special Police Constables. The
specific skills taught included crime scene investigation,
interrogation, report writing, and first aid. The Lira Police
Station was given a face-lift intended to project a more
professional image for the police and four motorbikes were donated
to the police and one to the prosecutor's office. Twenty-two
trainers and 72 Special Police Constables (SPCs) were trained in
four different iterations of the course. The instructors will
deploy on motorbikes and conduct training for SPCs at the sub-county

16. (U) As part of the DOJ/ICITAP program, the U.N. Office for the
High Commission for Human Rights conducted human rights training for
the constables and was involved in all stages of the program
development. The police force also was given techniques for using
daily roll call to disseminate information and training to officers.
A unique part of the pilot was the involvement of church leaders
and faith-based organizations to assist the police with juvenile
justice issues. Local churches were enlisted to assist in the
protection of children who commit crimes. Due to a lack of remand
facilities for children in the north, the juvenile is released to
his family but his punishment, such as community service, is
overseen by local church officials.

17. (U) The Joint Monitoring Commission was set to hold its last
meeting on October 3. President Museveni reportedly will attend and
formally launch the PRDP.

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18. (U) The New Vision reported that fear among returned IDP's is
increasing as a direct result of LRA threats to reignite the war if
its bases in Congo are attacked. Lira's Resident District
Commissioner held an emergency security meeting to assuage concerns
among local residents. In response Ruhakana Rugunda, Chief
Government negotiator stated that the GOU was committed to peace and
is supporting the formation of a new force made up of police, local
law enforcement officers, militia, and the military to guarantee
peace and security in northern Uganda.

19. (U) On September 14, the International Crisis Group released a
new briefing paper on northern Uganda. The ICG reports that "Recent
developments create an opening to deal with core issues but have not
altered the parties' questionable desire to do so." The IGC
recognized that the LRA was getting more from the process - an
opportunity to regroup and to improve its image - than it was

20. (U) The ICG called for a comprehensive justice framework
requiring prosecution of LRA and army commanders with the greatest
responsibility for crimes, reconciliation of ordinary rebels, and
truth-telling and compensation for victims. ICG acknowledged the
possibility of safehaven for the LRA leaders indicted by the
International Criminal Court, but "only as an absolute last resort
and with international endorsement." The ICG called for donors and
mediators to continue to close opportunities for those who seek to
prolong the process indefinitely, including through monitoring of
food and other aid to prevent the LRA from rebuilding its strength.
The briefing called for an extension of the mandate of the Cessation
of Hostilities Monitoring team so it could operate in the DRC,
should the LRA continue to refuse to assemble in Sudan, and for the
Sudan Peoples' Liberation Army (SPLA) to bolster forces on the DRC
border to limit LRA mobility. It stated further that, "a clear
message must be sent to Kampala that unilateral military action in
Congo is unacceptable." The ICG also called for a "two - track
strategy" of negotiating away the security threat while dealing with
long-term redevelopment in northern Uganda as the best approach to
ending the conflict.

21. (U) Resolve Uganda issued a statement on September 13,
"welcoming the increased efforts of the United States government to
contribute to a lasting resolution of the twenty-one year crisis..."
Resolve noted the recent visit to the region by A/S Frazer and the
appointment of Timothy Shortley as Senior Advisor on Conflict
Resolution. Resolve urged the U.S. to "devote increased diplomacy
and resources in support of the negotiations process."
Specifically, Resolve called for the USG to publicly announce that
its policy was to respect and uphold any agreement reached in Juba,
to take every possible precaution against new military operations
before "all reasonable peaceful options" have been exhausted, and
"refrain from making pubic threats of military operations against

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the LRA while a viable negotiations process was taking place."

22. (SBU) In excerpts from her new book, "Turning War into Peace:
An Insider's Story," printed in the East African newspaper, former
member of parliament and government minister, Betty Bigombe, accused
corrupt officers in the former National Resistance Army of fueling
the LRA war. Bigombe's accusations arise from her experiences as
chief mediator from 1993- 2004 for the GOU during the previously
failed LRA peace talks. The East African article cited corrupt
practices such as the misquoting of personnel numbers and equipment
needs, illegal acquisition and sale of oil, vandalizing of army
trucks, and the sale of rations and uniforms to the SPLA. UPDF
Spokesman Felix Kulayigye refused to confirm or deny allegations
until the UPDF received a copy of the book and investigated its

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