21 April 2006

Uganda Wants to Capture Rebels in Congo

Kampala — Uganda's defence minister proposed on Wednesday that his troops be allowed to enter Congo in pursuit of vicious rebels who were regrouping there and kidnapping, raping and recruiting children.

The LRA, led by, Joseph Kony, has been abducting children and forcing them to kill for more than a decade, beginning in the north, where 2 million people have been made homeless by the attacks.

Defence minister Amama Mbabazi told the UN Security Council that he knew the LRA was operating in the Garambe National Park of the DR Congo and in Sudan between Juba and Yei, their original base.

"When they left southern Sudan, they were really running for their dear lives, but in Garamba National Park, they have had time to regroup, rest and recruit afresh," he said.

Mbabazi appealed to UN peacekeepers in Congo and Sudan to help capture LRA leaders, four of whom, including Kony, have been indicted by the International Criminal Court in the Hague as war criminals.

He said after an initial engagement with the LRA, UN troops in the Congo stopped pursuing them following the death of eight Guatemalan peacekeepers in January.

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