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Acholi Religious Leaders Want Asylum for Joseph Kony :: Uganda Radionetwork
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Acholi Religious Leaders Want Asylum for Joseph Kony

Ochola says the African Union and United Nations statement on LRA’s safety will not work since asking Kony to surrender portrays LRA as a defeated force.

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Religious leaders under the Acholi Religious Peace Initiative-ARLPI want government to allow Joseph Kony, the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels to seek asylum in another country. They also want government to release Thomas Kwoyelo and Caesar Acellam, both former LRA commanders.

 

The leaders argue that this would be the best way to end the LRA conflict. McLeod Baker Ochola, the retired Bishop of Kitgum diocese and founder member of the Acholi Religious Peace Initiative says Kony should be granted asylum in another country to allow the children still in captivity to return back home. He says hunting Kony down will not work but granting him asylum will show that he can totally be set free.

 

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Ochola says the African Union and United Nations statement on LRA’s safety will not work since asking Kony to surrender portrays LRA as a defeated force.  Kony and his fighters are believed to be hiding in Central African Republic, eight years after relocating from Northern Uganda.

 

The government in CAR last week said the LRA leader is in talks aimed at ending the rebellion. Sheikh Musa Khalil, the Acholi district Kadhi and vice chairperson Acholi Religious Peace Initiative says government should set Kwoyelo and Acellam free to allow the combatants who are still in the bush to return home.

 

He asks government to treat the two commanders the same way it treated other LRA commanders such as Kenneth Banya and Sam Kolo. The two were pardoned after they surrendered to government.   

 

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Ofwono Opondo, the director Uganda Media Centre says the Acholi religious leaders failed to convince Joseph Kony to sign the Juba peace deal despite the fact that they were part of the negotiation. He says Kwoyelo was charged in court adding that government can’t do much to change his fate. He has repeatedly asked for amnesty in vain.  Opondo says Joseph Kony lost a chance of getting a asylum in three countries that had accepted to host him. 

Robert Ngabirano, the deputy UPDF spokesperson says Kony didn't sign the Juba peace agreement, which had clauses that would grant him asylum. He explains that both Acellam and Kwoyelo are being charged on different issues not the LRA war. Joseph Kony and three other top LRA commanders are wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague on charges of rape, mutilation and murder of civilians, as well as recruiting children forcefully to serve as soldier. Kony who was on the verge of signing a peace deal in 2008 failed to do so unless the ICC drops its arrest warrant.

 

The ICC warrant is permanent, but a political negotiation can be conducted by Uganda and the UN’s Security Council to delay the execution of the warrant on an annual basis.

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