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Sudan joins African Union anti-LRA meetings

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March 28, 2017 (KHARTOUM) - Sudanese army chief of staff Tuesday has arrived in Addis Ababa to take part for the first time in the meetings of the Joint Coordination Mechanism of the African Union-led Regional Cooperation Initiative for the Elimination of the Lord’s Resistance Army (RCI-LRA).

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LRA leader Joseph Kony and his fighters (Getty)

For two decades The LRA rebels were involved in a vicious fight with the Ugandan government. Most of the fighting took place in northern Uganda and South Sudan. During the recent years, they moved to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Central African Republic (CAR).

Advocacy and investigation groups and also the Ugandan government during the past years accused Khartoum of harbouring the LRA notorious leader Joseph Kony. But, the Sudanese government denied the claim and allowed U.S. officials to inspect the areas where he allegedly had been present.

"The Chief of Staff Lt Gen., Emad Eddin Mustafa Adawi, has left the country heading to Addis Ababa, representing the Minister of Defence to participate in the 6th Ministerial Meeting of the Joint Coordination Mechanism (JCM) of the RCI-LRA," said a statement issued in Khartoum.

The purpose of the meeting is to approve the mandate of the regional cooperation initiative for the elimination of the LRA, and it will continue on 29th and 30th of March and will gather a number of defence ministers of the region, further said ministry of defence.

Last January on the margins of the African Union summit; President Yoweri Museveni chaired a meeting on the (RCI-LRA) on 29 January 2017 attended by the presidents of South Sudan, CAR, DRF and Sudan foreign ministers besides representatives of the UN, U.S. and EU.

During this meeting, the AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Smail Chergui, and made a presentation on the status of the implementation of the mandate of the RCI-LRA.

The meeting further agreed that the rebel group still remains a threat to civilians, peace and security in the CAR, the DRC, South Sudan and the region as a whole. The participants further urged to convene a planning meeting of the members of the RCI-LRA to develop a comprehensive roadmap for the full accomplishment of the RCI-LRA mandate.

Last June Sudan declined to participate in the fifth Ministerial Meeting of the Joint Coordination Mechanism (JCM) of the RCI-LRA, saying it had nothing to do with the LRA particularly after the secession of South Sudan which represents a geographical barrier between Sudan and Uganda.

The RCI-LRA is tasked with determining the LRA whereabouts and help arrest its leader Josef Kony and hand him over to the International Criminal Court (ICC) as he is accused of war crimes.

(ST)

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