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UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Thursday 15 September 2005

SUDAN-UGANDA: LRA rebels attack villages in south Sudan

KAMPALA, 15 Sep 2005 (IRIN) - A group of about 40 raiders believed to be fighters of the Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebel movement attacked villages in southern Sudan earlier this week, setting homes on fire and abducting several people, officials said on Thursday.

"They attacked during broad daylight [on Tuesday] the areas of Lanya and Loka situated west of Yei. They burned houses and abducted an unspecified number of people as they headed further west towards the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)," said George Riak, an official of the Sudan People's Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A), in Kampala.

He noted that a young girl who was one of those taken captive had since been released. There were no reports of casualties during the raid, he said.

"They are still moving towards the border with the DRC, and we still don't know whether the intention is to enter Congo. But we are trying our best not to allow them to enter the DRC," said Riak.

There were fears earlier that the LRA's objective was to cut off a major road leading to the southern Sudanese city of Juba, but according to Riak, this had not happened by Thursday.

Other reports indicated that the LRA attacked and took control of several villages in southeastern Sudan and stole food crops from farms after residents fled.

The LRA, which has fought against the Ugandan government for nearly two decades, ostensibly in a bid to replace President Yoweri Museveni's administration with one based on the biblical Ten Commandments, is said to have bases in some parts of southern Sudan.

The group gained notoriety for its brutality against civilians and the abduction of children for conscription into its ranks.

Kampala and Khartoum signed a protocol in 2002, under which Ugandan troops are allowed to pursue LRA fighters in southern Sudan. Ugandan army operations inside Sudanese territory have only succeeded in dispersing insurgents and seizing weapons, and groups of LRA raiders still manage to carry out attacks inside Uganda occasionally.

Insecurity in northern Uganda has led to the displacement of an estimated 1.5 million people who have become dependent on relief aid.


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