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South Sudan, Ugandan say Sudanese army created a new LRA

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Nov 5, 2006 ( KAMPALA) — South Sudan and Ugandan security officials accused Sudanese ruling party and the Sudanese armed forces SAF) of creating a new "Sudan LRA" and ordered it to attack civilians in the region.

According to the Ugandan Sunday Monitor, Khartoum is renewing support for several militias it supported prior to its January 2005 signing of a Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Ugandan and South Sudanese intelligence officials believe that these militias have received orders to conduct attacks on civilians.

"Some of these attacks are clearly from " LRA Sudan", a source said describing LRA Sudan as a militia recruited by Khartoum from the large Acholi community in South Sudan. " These militias had gone silent after the signing of the CPA but are now active".

The claim could not be independently verified but consultations confirm the suspicion in Kampala and Juba that the hand of Khartoum is behind the killings by armed people of 41 civilians about two weeks ago. Many of the dead were passengers ambushed and shot along the road to Juba.

The South Sudan government authorities have arrested 15 people who have reportedly confessed to links with the Sudanese army. During its long conflict with SPLA, the Sudanese government supported several tribal militias against the former rebels and Uganda.

Some of these groups organised as the Southern Sudan Defence Forces (SSDF) by Khartoum never fully integrated into the new force created after the signing of the CPA. Some of these groups like the Mundari militia commanded by Major General Clement Wani and sections of the Equatorial Defence Forces (EDF) have remained out of the reach of the Southern Sudan government.

It is these groups whose relationship with the Khartoum government is the basis of the suspicion that Sudanese authorities are sponsoring the latest attacks. The Juba peace talks between the LRA (led by Joseph Kony) and Uganda government were briefly shaken by the attacks with both sides blaming each other.

The timing of the attacks had a greater impact, coming at a time when the talks had reached a statement over the lifting of ICC warrants against Joseph Kony and his top commanders. The government of Southern Sudan is yet to officially name Sudanese army in the killings.

Southern Sudan attacks had appeared to bear the hallmarks of the LRA, who long terrorised villagers in lawless parts of southern Sudan. The Ugandan guerrillas set up bases there in the mid-1990s and were supported by Khartoum as a proxy force against its own rebels. But the LRA denied the responsibility.

(Sunday Monitor)

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