Uganda’s Minister of State for Water Betty Bigombe and Acholi Paramount Chief David Onen Achana II flew to Obbo in the Central African Republic (CAR) on Tuesday and apologised to the population for the atrocities the LRA rebels committed against the local population.
“We regret Kony’s action in the neighbouring countries and we call for cooperation in ending these atrocities,” Rwot Achana II said, adding: “There is no difference on what he was doing in northern Uganda and what he is doing to you here; we are hoping that he comes to his senses and he stops it with immediate effect.”
In a related development, a top US military commander on Thursday tasked a purported LRA peace emissary to provide a recent photo of Joseph Kony or persuade the warlord to telephone him as proof that the self-declared envoy is not a masquerader.
A one Okello Mission, who identifies himself as “LRA’s special peace envoy”, has been sending out emails to the African Union, the United Nations, the US government and media houses announcing the group’s intention to end the conflict peacefully.
Col Kevin Leahy, who commands the US Special Operation troops carrying out the counter-LRA offensive in CAR, replied in an email: “The United States will not entertain your proposal unless you demonstrate proof that you are representing Kony. Your letters alone are not sufficient.”
On Tuesday, Ms Bigombe who initiated the first peace talks with Kony in 1993, said the rebel leader does not listen to counsel to “stop his ruthless activities”.
The Obbo meeting followed Kony’s reported request for dialogue, days after the United States government deployed hundreds of additional Special Forces and specialised aircraft to accelerate the Washington-funded counter-LRA offensive to capture or eliminate the indicted LRA commanders.
Kony’s whereabouts remain unknown, but regional military officers say LRA is diminished.
The AU team is using both military engagement and come-home messages broadcast on local radio stations and leaflets to encourage defections among the rebels, he said.
About Kony’s lord resistance army
Rebellion. Kony began his rebellion in 1987, ostensibly to install a government run on the Biblical 10 commandments, but his forces have built notoriety for mass killings, rape and abductions in northern Uganda and the neighbouring DR Congo.
Off to CAR. In 2009, the LRA fled to CAR, following the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces offensive that smoked them out of their new bases in eastern DR Congo. They have since committed atrocities against civilians in CAR.