Former Chief Peace negotiator reveals why LRA chose DRC jungles
Rwot Yusuf Okwonga Adek, the former chief peace negotiator between the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel and the government of Uganda has said he personally warned LRA leader, Joseph Kony against leading his army back to northern Uganda.
Rwot Okwonga he advised Kony against causing further mayhem to his people after the failed 2006 Juba Peace Talks.
Speaking during the graduation ceremony of former LRA child soldiers at Terra Renaissance training centre in Bar-Dege division in Gulu town on Friday, Okwonga says he told the LRA leader to find an open space rather than leading his forces back to Uganda.
According to Okwonga, Kony chose the jungles of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The elusive LRA leader is believed to be hiding in the Kafia- Kingi enclave, a disputed border area between Sudan and South Sudan.
Okwonga said that he met Kony following his failure to sign the 2006 Juba Peace talks and told the rebel leader of the mayhem the conflict between his forces and that of the Ugandan government had caused in northern Uganda. The conflict displaced close to 2 million people away from their villages.
Okwonga initiated the first peace talks between LRA and former Minister Betty Bigombe in 1994 at Awach, in Gulu district, during the peak of the LRA insurgency.
For his alleged closeness to the LRA, Okwonga who is also the cultural chief of Pageya was arrested and detained 13 times between 2001 and August 2003 by the army, most of it between the Gulu Military Barracks and Luzira Maximum security prison.