Ugandan rebel leader escapes joint attack

NAIROBI - Uganda's fugitive rebel leader Joseph Kony, has escaped an attack by regional armies and is hiding in the Central African Republic.

NAIROBI - Uganda's fugitive rebel leader Joseph Kony, has escaped an attack by regional armies and is hiding in the Central African Republic.

But Kony, pictured, still holds out the possibility of a peace deal, a rebel spokesman said yesterday.

Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan launched a joint assault on Kony's base in Congo on Sunday 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 said in Nairobi, adding he had spoken to the rebel leader.

"The entire LRA command is intact and was not destroyed by the operation," he said.

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.

The self-proclaimed prophet and two of his deputies have been indicted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court (ICC) in The Hague.

But the elusive Kony wants the ICC arrest warrants dropped before he signs.

Uganda's government has said it will ask the UN 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 twomillion displaced by the rebel group, infamous for mutilating its victims. - Reuters

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