By Richard Ruati
March 3, 2010 (MARIDI) – The Sudanese President, Omer Hassen Al Bashir during his campaign leg in South Sudan has vowed to end LRA attacks in the region. He was speaking at a rally in Maridi, Western Equatoria.
Miraya FM quoted the presidential candidate and incumbent, President Omar Al Bashir as saying, "the National Congress Party is to work towards ending insurgent attacks by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in the south".
In Southern Sudan many believe there are elements in the Sudanese government in Khartoum that still support the LRA, as they had in the past. "There are elements that still, clandestinely support the Kony movement. I don’t have evidence, but this is my belief," a senior official in the government of Western Equatoria was quoted by BBC early last year.
Khartoum has routinely dismissed such allegations.
Since late 2008, the civilian populations of Western Equatoria in South Sudan and Central Equatoria have been caught up in a dramatic cycle of violence linked to attacks perpetrated by the Ugandan rebel group the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), and the Ugandan, South Sudan and Congolese armies have been hunting the infamous rebels.
The LRA split into small groups of fighters, who are scattered across three central African countries. It is believed that, LRA has displaced over 75,000 villagers in Western Equatoria and 8,000 Congolese have already crossed into Sudan to the towns of Yambio, Nzara and Ezo.
LRA leader Joseph Kony and two other LRA commanders have been wanted by the International Criminal Tribunal since 2005 on suspicion of war crimes and crimes against humanity. Gen. Kony has said he wanted to establish a society based on the 10 Commandments.
President Al Bashir also assured southerners of more development projects for the region and better education facilities. In a separate part of his speech, Bashir highlighted that southern seats have been increased in the national assembly and the increment better reflects the south’s population census. Al Bashir further stressed that all problems between the north and south have been resolved.
The NCP presidential candidate reiterated the importance of free and fair elections. Al Bashir urged all citizens to vote freely for their preferred choices.