7 September 2006

Uganda: Congo Army Fights LRA

Kampala — The Congolese army (FARDC) fought with the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels last weekend in Aba and Aru zones in northeastern Congo, Congolese and Ugandan security sources said yesterday.

In a village east of Aba, south of Garamba National Park, FARDC ambushed the rebels who were walking southwards to join their colleagues in Aru zone.

Security sources said one rebel died in the fighting and the rebels retreated backwards to safe havens in Garamba.

Security sources said FARDC fought the rebels again on Monday in Katanga in Aru zone in Ituri. One LRA fighter was killed and the main group fled to the Katanga forests, three kilometres from Jalasiga, where FARDC are amassing to advance to fight them.

Last week, the Kinshasa government gave LRA a three-week ultimatum to quit Congo.

Congolese sources said pressure from the Congolese army has forced the LRA to flee to Katanga from Ameri, Kusu and Amee areas.

"They raided nearby villages for food and abducted three children in another village north of Katanga," a Congolese militia commander in the nearby Mahagi zone said yesterday.

Initial Ugandan security sources said the rebels were moving to Zeu forests in Nebbi district in Uganda.

The Katanga forest, where the rebels are hiding, joins the great Equatoria forest belt which stretches westwards to Kisangani and northwards to Garamba national Park.

In a related move, the UPDF has posted another officer, Lt. Col. Karyanga, to take charge of the 409th brigade, which has deployed along the border with Congo.

Karyanga takes over from Col. Sam Kavuma, who is the acting 4th division commander.

The activities of the LRA in Congo contravene the cessation of hostilities agreement signed in Juba recently between the rebels and Uganda because the Garamba group is expected to move northwards to assemble in Ri-Kwangba in Western Equatoria state in Sudan.

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