Home | News    Monday 8 December 2003

Sudan denies harbouring Ugandan rebels

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KAMPALA, Dec 8 (AFP) — Sudan denied it was harbouring Ugandan rebels of the infamous Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and called on Kampala to withdraw the allegation and apologise.

A statement released by the Sudanese embassy in the Ugandan capital said the charge, made late last month by Junior Defence Minister Ruth Nankabirwa, had already prompted the foreign ministry in Khartoum to summon Uganda’s ambassador in Sudan.

"The (Sudanese) ministry also requested Uganda to send a fact-finding mission to Sudan, with US participation, to verify the fact that it is not true that there are any LRA camps within Sudanese territory, behind Sudan army lines," the statement added.

On September 29 Nankabirwa told parliament the LRA was operating a training camp in areas under Sudanese army control.

"Our forces deployed there cannot do anything, because the protocol under which they are deployed does not allow them to go beyond some lines," she said.

"Upon verification of non-existence of such camps, the government of the Sudan demands an explanatory reply and an apology for that unfounded allegation," the embassy statement added.

In March 2002, Khartoum allowed Kampala to deploy troops on its soil to carry out raids against LRA bases.

Uganda managed to overrun some of the bases, but the rebels retreated back to Uganda and resumed their violent attacks against northern Uganda’s population after a two-year lull.

Relations between Kampala and Khartoum were fast on the mend after a recent exchange of envoys, but this has been reversed by Uganda’s latest allegations.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed or maimed in the LRA conflict and the rebels have abducted many thousands, mostly children, to serve as fighters or sex slaves.

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