“With whoops and backslaps, Uganda’s government and Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels signed a ceasefire on Saturday, a big step towards a final peace settlement to one of Africa’s longest-running wars.
“It is the laying down of arms. It is the end of the war,” U.N. envoy Joaquim Chissano said after the parties signed the “permanent ceasefire” agreement during their fast-progressing talks in southern Sudan’s capital Juba.
With only a demobilization deal left to be agreed on, negotiators and mediators like Chissano are predicting a final accord will be reached next week to end one of the world’s most macabre and least-understood conflicts.
Fortunately, on UN Plaza last week, I enlisted the help of the Enough Campaign’s Julia Spiegel to help me, and viewers, understand the conflict. As she points out, it is actually not that complicated: an outlaw group that receives support from abroad terrorizes the population of northern Uganda. Government forces, in trying to suppress rebellion, commit atrocities of their own. The people of Northern Uganda lose. Until now, that is.