Home | Press Releases    Monday 26 July 2004

EDF reoccupies Moti after tactical withdrawal, appeals for emergency aid for Displaced

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Equatoria Defence Forces (EDF)
PRESS RELEASE
July 26th, 2004

On Saturday 24th July 2004, EDF forces of the SPLA moved back into Moti after our gallant forces made a tactical withdrawal from the village in the afternoon of 23rd July 2004 following heavy fighting with Ugandan LRA rebels who were aided by GoS logistics and helicopter gun ships.

Early on Thursday 22nd July 20034, The LRA rebels had been transported by GoS Army trucks from bases somewhere near Juba to Kor Lakabata near Moti from where they launched an attack on Moti at 5:00 am on 23rd July 2004. Also on Thursday a GoS Antonov military transport plane and two helicopters gun ships had been circling over Moti suggesting that an attack was imminent. Civilians were immediately evacuated from Moti by our soldiers.

During the fighting on 23rd July 2004, helicopter gun ships of GoS Army strafed EDF/SPLA positions and GoS bombarded our positions with heavy artillery from GoS army barracks in Torit. The LRA forces numbered about 2000, and these combined with all the support from GoS meant our forces had no choice but to make a tactical withdrawal form Moti. We then continued to pound the LRA while they razed Moti down and the LRA moved out and continued to march southwards into SPLA controlled areas. The LRA force is now marching towards Katire where we got forces and we expect a clash in Katire within a short time from now. It seems the LRA are trying to move back into Imatong hills with GoS help, an area from which they had been evicted by EDF and Uganda Peoples Defence Force (UPDF) in March/April this year.

Three soldiers of EDF were killed and ten wounded. Dozens of bodies of dead LRA rebels are scattered around the village of Moti and EDF officers are still counting them. There might be some light civilian casualties as we took care to evaluate most people but the payam administrators are still checking.

There is now wide spread hunger in the area. All food stocks have been burned or looted by rebels. Many of the cattle - goats and sheep had been looted. Crop seeds which would have been planted but delayed by draught are now destroyed and so the situation can only get worse. All the huts/buildings had been razed or burnt to the ground by the LRA rebels. Hence thousands of people have been displaced without shelter. Also there are no medical facilities for these displaced people.

EDF is appealing to NGOs and the UN to come to the rescue of the people displaced and brutalized by LRA attacks in Eastern Equatoria. Relief aid can be coordinated with help from the EDF/SPLA headquarters in Magwi County.

Charles Barnaba Kisanga

- Secretary General

- Equatoria Defence Forces (EDF)

- E-mail: ckisanga03@yahoo.co.uk

- Tel: +44-117 9594549

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The Sudan Tribune editorial team.

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