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Sudanese bishop urges peace talks with Lord’s Resistance Army

By on Thursday, 20 January 2011

Bishop Kussala wants the international community to put pressure on the region's governments to open talks

Bishop Kussala wants the international community to put pressure on the region's governments to open talks

A bishop in Sudan has backed a call by a Ugandan archbishop for governments to open peace talks with the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala of Tombura-Yambio said military action over several years had failed to stop killing sprees and abductions in his diocese.

He said: “Since 2008 there have been a lot of armaments and attacks on the LRA, and we see the consequences. So why not try another option?”

The bishop urged the international community to “put pressure” on governments affected by the LRA – Sudan, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic – to engage in talks.

Bishop Kussala said: “The army, when you ask them about peace talks, they laugh, and say [Kony] is mad, he can’t talk to anybody.”

He said the terrorist group had attacked several villages in the diocese in recent weeks, and on Saturday three people were killed.

The group is notorious for abducting children for use as soldiers and sex slaves. In 2009 seven Christians in the bishop’s diocese were crucified.

Ugandan Archbishop John Baptist Odama told the BBC this week that efforts were needed to “touch the humanity” of the rebel group’s leader, Joseph Kony.

The archbishop, who has met Kony several times, said governments should learn from the failure of military offensives and build trust with the LRA. He said a peace settlement would “not be quick”.

Last week a Congolese nun was shot and killed by the rebel group. Sister Jeanne Yemgane, former superior of the St Augustine congregation in Sungu, was working as a nurse and travelling with other health workers when gunmen attacked her car.

The Lord’s Resistance Army has waged war against the Ugandan government since 1987.