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Emergency Session on Uganda's War-torn North Urged
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The regional leader of northern Uganda has called for an emergency parliament session to discuss a roadmap for a peaceful resolution and reconciliation for the war-ravaged north.

Norbert Mao, chairman of the war-torn northern Uganda district of Gulu, was quoted by Daily Monitor on Tuesday as saying he tabled the proposal in a closed meeting with members of parliament from the conflict affected areas.

"This is a request we have made and that is why we are meeting representatives from the region," Mao said shortly after the meeting.

According to Mao, the parliament should urgently put into its statute books the functioning of traditional justice systems like the Acholi ritual cleansing ceremony called "Mato Oput".

Under the Acholi traditional system of truth and reconciliation, the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) and the Uganda People's Defense Force would come at a public ceremony and be required to publicly apologize to the local community which has borne the brunt of the insurgency for the last 20 years.

The rebellion, which has been characterized as the one of the world's forgotten crisis, has left tens of thousands of people dead and over 1.4 million people homeless.

Mao's request comes shortly after Joseph Kony, the leader of the LRA wrote to Speaker of Parliament, Edward Sekandi, appealing for the legislators' support for the ongoing peace negotiations.

The final peace negotiations between the government and the LRA are expected to resume on Tuesday in the southern Sudan town of Juba after a two weeks recess.

Kony and four of his commanders are wanted by the International Criminal Court to answer for the war crimes they have committed in the north but the Ugandan government insisted on using the traditional justice system if the talks succeed.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni also offered a blanket amnesty to the rebel leadership before the talks kicked off on July 14.

(Xinhua News Agency August 9, 2006)

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