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Uganda Army, LRA Rebels Halt Hostilities as Expected
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The Ugandan government and the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) on Tuesday formalized cessation of hostilities as a step closer to a final peace agreement to end the 20-year rebellion in northern Uganda.

Maj. Felix Kulaigye, the spokesman of Uganda People's Defense Force (UPDF), confirmed on Tuesday that President Yoweri Museveni, the commander-in-chief of Uganda armed forces, has ordered UPDF to stop hostilities against the LRA.

Local press reported that Vincent Otti, the second-in-command of the LRA has ordered the rebel fighters to end all forms of hostilities against civilians or the UPDF as well.

The directives follow the signing of the cessation of hostilities agreement between the government and the LRA in Juba, southern Sudan on Aug. 26.

According to the deal, the LRA would start assembling in two zones in southern Sudan within three weeks.

The signing of the cessation of hostilities agreement was a major breakthrough in the ongoing peace talks that started on July 14 in Juba, southern Sudan.

The latest peace attempt, brokered by southern Sudan, is seen as another historic chance to end the insurgency, one of Africa's longest conflicts.

The talks are scheduled to resume on Thursday after a four-day break of consultations.

(Xinhua News Agency August 30, 2006)

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