In an effort to bring a comprehensive political solution to the conflict in northern Uganda while addressing its wider regional ramifications, United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan has named former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano his Special Envoy to help deal with the issue of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and its brutal 20-year-long rebellion.
“He will develop a cohesive and forward-looking policy approach among all external actors,” Mr. Annan said in a letter to the Security Council, offering his good offices to the countries of the region in the light of ongoing peace talks between the Ugandan Government and the LRA. The Council welcomed these talks last month.
Mr. Annan noted that the LRA insurgency had caused the death and abduction of thousands of civilians, displaced more than 1.5 million people in northern Uganda, and severely disrupted humanitarian operations in southern Sudan.
“Its presence and activities in the north-eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) also represent a serious security threat for the civilian population and the region,” he wrote.
Mr. Chissano, as Special Envoy for the LRA-affected areas, will seek a solution that addresses the root causes of the conflict and will liaise with the International Criminal Court (ICC), where LRA leader Joseph Kony and four other senior figures have been indicted for war crimes.
Ugandan Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa told the UN General Assembly’s annual gathering of world leaders in September that his country has offered an amnesty to the LRA leadership because it believes this is the best way to peacefully end the conflict.
In his letter, Mr. Annan cited Security Council resolutions early this year, which strongly condemned the activities of the LRA both in southern Sudan and in the Great Lakes region of Africa, and asked the Secretary-General to recommend more effective ways for the UN to address the problem of the LRA in the region.