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DRC Vows to Pursue LRA Rebels in Bushes
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Despite current peace talks between the Ugandan government and the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in Juba, south Sudan, the authorities of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) has pledged to pursue the LRA rebels hiding in its bushes, the state-owned Sunday Vision reported on Sunday.

The report said the DRC would start to flush out the LRA from the Garamba National Park this week.

The statement was in the wake of a meeting between Uganda's People Defense Force (UPDF) Director of Operations, Clovis Kalyebara, and Bahuna Ambamba, director of Operations in the Office of the Chief of the Armed Forces of the DRC (FADRC), at the headquarters of the External Security Organization in Kampala.

The meeting also followed the talks between Ugandan and DRC military officials during which several resolutions about the LRA presence in Garamba were worked out.

"Our expectation now is that the DRC is going to start preparing for the offensive against the LRA. What we have now is a commitment of the DRC and the MONUC (the UN mission in the DRC) to move against the LRA," a source was quoted as saying.

The source said the MONUC officials met the LRA delegation led by Col. Bonny Libya in May and asked them to leave Garamba or face attacks.

The Uganda Media Center Director, Robert Kabushenga, welcomed the DRC assurance.

"It's encouraging that finally the DRC is recognizing its international obligations and we hope they can recognize that the LRA is a regional security threat, it has committed atrocities in Uganda, southern Sudan," he said.

"The UN is aware of this reality and they themselves lost servicemen. So it's urgent they neutralize the LRA threat," he said, "It's also important for the LRA to realize that their best option is to do a deal in Juba because they don't have many options."

The Ugandan government was trying to negotiate a peace deal with the LRA delegates in Juba to end one of Africa's longest conflicts that has left tens of thousands of people dead and over 1.4 million homeless in north Uganda.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni has offered total amnesty to the LRA leadership who has been indicted by the International Criminal Court. The condition of the amnesty was that a final peace deal must be signed by September 12.

(Xinhua News Agency July 24, 2006)


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