By James Gatdet Dak
August 11, 2010 (JUBA) - A delegation of religious leaders from the Acholi community in northern Uganda have appealed to regional governments to find a peaceful solution to the Lord’s Resistance Army’s ongoing insurgency.
The delegation led by the Archbishop John Baptist Odama appealed to the Government of Southern Sudan to help revive the peace process between the Ugandan government and the rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
In a meeting on Wednesday with the Vice President of the autonomous southern region, Riek Machar, they said military action alone would not end the atrocities currently committed by the LRA in southern Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Central African Republic (CAR).
The religious leaders said that their delegation was also consulting with the Ugandan government as well as LRA with the aim to give another chance for a peaceful approach to the conflict.
Even though LRA attacks in northern Uganda have decreased in over the last two years the religious leaders said the atrocities committed by the rebels in neighboring countries continues to disturb the Acholi community and the people of Uganda.
They said the military operation launched on December 14, 2008 by the Ugandan government in DRC, code named ‘Operation Lightning Thunder’, had not solved the problem but interrupted the peace process and resulted to the spread of LRA over a large area.
Over the past 18 months, the LRA has killed 255 civilians and abducted over 700 people in DRC and CAR, according to a recent Human Rights Watch report.
Vice President Machar told the religious leaders that in his opinion the conflict could have been resolved in 2008 had it not been for the intransigence of the LRA leader Joseph Konyi who refused to sign the final peace agreement.
He said the Government of Southern Sudan still wanted to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict and would also support peace talks if LRA leader, Joseph Kony, was ready for peace.
The Government of Southern Sudan mediated the Juba peace talks between the Ugandan government and the LRA.
Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni was ready to sign it the deal but Kony refused.