Home | News    Sunday 21 February 2010

Ugandan rebels kill two, abduct 30 in eastern CAR

By Richard Ruati

February 21, 2010 (RAFAI, CAR) - Ugandan rebels from the Lord’s Resistance Army killed two people and abducted 30 in a raid on a remote city in the Central African Republic (CAR), a witness and local media said on Saturday.

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An armed fighter of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) stands guard in 2006 in Ri-Kwamba, southern Sudan.

The attack on Friday in the eastern city of Rafai was the third in the region in less than two weeks blamed on the LRA. Due to the remoteness of the areas, Sudan Tribune is yet to establish the exact number of LRA soldiers in the latest spate of attacks.

Purported movement by LRA in the regions of Southern Sudan, Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and CAR has resulted in the direst humanitarian crisis.

With the intervention of allied forces aided by local vigilantes known as the “Arrow Boys”, LRA operations have scaled down in southern Sudan.

The leadership of the rebel group, which has waged a two decades-long insurgency in Uganda before rebasing in Congo, is wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court.

"Two people were killed with machetes and clubs and 14 people were severely wounded," Desire Gassi, a local resident, told Reuters by telephone Saturday.

He said the rebels attacked around nightfall and ransacked a church before abducting about 30 people and heading back into the bush.

A radio broadcaster, Clement Loutemboli, said the rebels had used machetes and clubs instead of guns to avoid alerting an army base several kilometers (miles) away, and were using the hostages as porters.

Civilians in Neighboring Southern Sudan are already expressing fear of LRA surprise attack the during the elections given the closeness of Rafai to Source in southern Sudan

Although many LRA training camps have been broken up and some rebels disarmed by U.N.-backed Congolese soldiers, they continue to attack civilians in Congo, Sudan and CAR.

The increasing LRA attacks in CAR come as the Army chiefs of Congo, Uganda and Central African Republic met on Tuesday and Wednesday in Kinshasa to assess the operation against the Ugandan rebel Lord’s Resistance Army.

The meeting is attended by chief of general staff of the Ugandan army Aronda Nyakirimana, his counterpart from Central African Republic Francois Modebu and Congolese army chief Didier Etumba.

The three countries are engaged in the actions to get rid of the LRA operating in the three neighboring countries, as well as in southern Sudan.

The LRA has waged one of the longest guerrilla wars in Africa since 1986, roaming between Uganda, southern Sudan, DR Congo and Central African Republic. Its guerrilla-style warfare has left tens of thousands dead and 2 million homeless over years.

DR Congo and Uganda launched a joint military operation against the LRA on Dec. 14, 2008, declaring they had wiped out 80 percent of the rebel group at the end of the crackdown in March.

Although the joint military action dismantled the LRA’s main base in DR Cong’s Garamba national park bordering both Uganda and southern Sudan, the notorious group is still able to launch attacks on villages where cases of killing, looting, rape and child abduction were reported.

(ST)