Uganda's fugitive rebel leader Joseph Kony escaped an attack by regional armies and is hiding in the Central African Republic but still holds out the possibility of a peace deal, a rebel spokesman said on Monday.
Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan launched a joint assault on Kony's base in Congo on Dec. 14 after the leader of the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) failed to sign an accord to end the two-decade war.
"Kony is somewhere in the Central African Republic," LRA spokesman David Matsanga told a news conference in Nairobi, declining to be more precise.
"The entire LRA command is intact and was not destroyed by the operation," added Matsanga, who said he spoken to Kony a few days earlier.
Matsanga said Kony had instructed him to tell the world that he was ready to resume talks but at a neutral venue such as Tanzania or South Africa and under a new mediator to replace South Sudan's Vice President Riek Machar.
He and two of his deputies have been indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court in The Hague. But the elusive Kony wants the ICC arrests warrants dropped before he signs.
Uganda's government has said it will ask the U.N. Security Council to suspend the warrants after the rebels lay down their arms but Kony remains suspicious.
"The LRA wants to reiterate its stand and reaffirm its total and unequivocal support for the peace process despite the failed attacks on its forces in Garamba," Matsanga said.
Thousands of people have been killed and about two million displaced by the rebel group, infamous for mutilating its victims and kidnapping women and children, during the conflict.
Last Mod: 22 Aralık 2008, 14:49