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     Uganda: I'm Not a Terrorist, Says Kony

    Uganda: I'm Not a Terrorist, Says Kony
    New Vision (Kampala)
    Alfred Wasike and Agencies

    "MOST people don't know me...I am not a terrorist...I am also a human being like you, like him, like all of us...I want peace also," the elusive Lord's Resistance Army leader, Joseph Kony, stressed in a rare video while pointing at other people around him. Flanked by his number two, a bespectacled Vincent Otti and other LRA top brass, Kony, clad in a blue beret, green uniform decorated by a general's red and gold pips and green gumboots, made the remarks in English while meeting the Vice- President of Southern Sudan, Riek Machar, about three weeks ago in a heavily-guarded bushy setting in Sudan. "I am fighting for peace...SPLA is not our enemy...we are in Sudan because our grandfathers came from Sudan. It is Museveni and his government who are fighting us...we are fighting for our rights... now we have stopped fighting we want peace," Kony, holding a brown notebook, assured Machar. Earlier Machar, clad in a white Kaunda suit, shook hands with the LRA delegation but strongly warned Kony and his team, "I am carrying three messages from our leader Salva Kiir. We want you to remember that we want peace in southern Sudan. We want peace in our land and northern Uganda. We fought a long and painful war for peace in our land." "One: We are prepared to help you negotiate with the UPDF and your government. Two: If you are not ready to do that, then you must leave our land immediately. Three: Meanwhile, you are still in Southern Sudan, you must not kill, rape, loot or hurt our people because if you do that, we shall fight you out," Machar said as Kony listened attentively. Kony and Otti asked Machar for guarantees for their safety. "We are independent of anyone. We know about your problems with the ICC (International Criminal Court) or even the Americans. But take our word that we want to assist you. Remember that you were invited to Southern Sudan by another government. You have been attacking our people. If you want to fight the UPDF, then go out of our land," Machar stressed. After Kony promised that his men would not terrorise southern Sudan again, Machar opened his bag and ...

    said, "When I came for this meeting, our leader Salva Kiir asked me to bring you some money in addition to the food. Twenty thousand dollars, ok? Buy food with it, not ammunition," Machar told Kony. "I thank Allah very much," Kony said at the start, surprising words for a man who has said he wants to rule Uganda by the Biblical Ten Commandments. "Our interest is not to fight the SPLA ... There will be no exchange of fire between our people and your people," he added, saying LRA fighters were only defending themselves in past clashes with SPLA troops. "We are all brothers, we are all Christians, we are all blacks, we are all Africans," he added.In reaction to the meeting, the UPDF has stressed that the arrest warrants against the LRA leaders issued by the ICC are still in force and the army was still pursuing the insurgents for trial. The ICC wants Kony, Otti, Okot Odhiambo, Dominic Ongwen and Raska Lukwiya over crimes against humanity and war crimes committed in Uganda since July 2002. The Hague-based ICC has again emphasised that it expects Uganda, Sudan and the DRC to arrest and hand over Kony and the other four indicted suspects. The court's spokesperson, Matthew Brubacher, said, "We don't have anything to do with those negotiations. It is up to the governments of Uganda, Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo to comply with their legal obligations. We have agreements with the three states. They are obligated to give effect to the arrest warrants, and we are confident that they will honour their joint commitment to do so."

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