Uganda's rebel group the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) has asked for peace talks with the government to end its 12-year-long insurgency, a government official has said.
The State Minister for Internal Affairs Matia Kasaija was quoted by the state-owned New Vision daily on Tuesday as saying that the rebels, through the Amnesty Commission, had sent a memorandum to the government indicating its willingness to peace talks with the government.
"The government has agreed to the peace talks but the date and venue is yet to be decided," Kasaija told the legislators on the defense and internal affairs committee on Monday.
He revealed that the government had set aside a provisional fund of 2 billion Ugandan shillings (about 1.25 million U.S. dollars) to facilitate the talks.
"We don't want to experience a situation similar to the one we faced when the Juba peace talks commenced. The talks began without funds," Kasaija said.
The Ugandan government started fresh negotiations with the country's most notorious rebel group, Lord's Resistance Army (LRA)in July 2006 in Juba, southern Sudan under the auspice of southern Sudanese authority.
Kasaija further responded to some doubts from the legislators that ADF is not longer a threat, saying the latest information indicated that the ADF was reorganizing in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo) and could attack the country anytime.
Justice Peter Onega, the chairman of the Amnesty Commission, said he had discussed the matter with ADF top commanders.
Onega said he met Jamil Mukulu, the rebel leader, Yusuf Kabanda, his deputy and ten other top commanders, who all indicated that they were ready for peace talks.
"I twice met Mukulu, Kabanda and ten other top commanders based in Congo (DR Congo). They assured me that they wanted to talk peace and come back home. They are tired of fighting. I am sure within a few months, we shall be able to proceed," Onega said.
Mukulu, a Catholic turned Muslim, heads the force which initially recruited Muslim youth, who cited marginalization. Together with the defunct National Army for the Liberation of Uganda, they moved to western Uganda in 1996 where they started a rebellion.
They set up bases in DR Congo where they recruited and trained fighters with the promise of money and education.
Currently, the peace negotiations between the Ugandan government and the LRA have concluded.