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LRA maneuvers cause panic in Sudan’s Tambura town in W. Equatoria

By Richard Ruati

May 16, 2010 (TAMBURA) — Panic has on Sunday gripped Tambura Town and surrounding villages following their appearance in Nabaria village and speculation that pockets of Ugandan rebels have re-entered the Western Equatoria county.

LRA fighters (AFP/file)Nabaria village is situated in Agiara Boma, 6 miles from Tambura town.

"A group of LRA rebels have been reportedly abducted two children in Nabaria village in Agiara Boma and are proceeding towards River Yubu, small stream around Tambura County," Eye witness told Sudan Tribune.

Again, LRA rebels in the same clandestine attack have been reported to have chopped right hand of one old man and abandoned him.

However, Sudan Tribune could not verify this report of abductions independently.

Failure to defeat LRA leaves many WES citizens fearful of rebel renewed threats.

Many residents in Tambura town, in northwest of Western Equatoria (DRC), have started to flee their homes after the Ugandan rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) threats reached Tambura town.

The threats are reminiscent of the usual horrific atrocities when the rebels killed hundreds of civilians in the area and surrounding regions.

The vigilantes have urged residents to resist and defend themselves using poisoned arrows and spears. There is panic and the population has started to leave Tambura, Sudan Tribune learned.

Eye witness told Sudan Tribune by telephone that, "The LRA threats have turned Tambura into a ghost town, with some residents fleeing into the bush while others are stationed behind the airstrip."

The armies of Uganda, DRC, and Southern Sudan, that have been tracking down the LRA rebels since the end of 2008, continue to maintain that measures are in place to avoid a repeat of the past killings.

Last month many LRA surrendered to SPLA forces and the Ugandan Army in Western Equatoria.

LRA horrendous attacks saw last week, lawmakers in the United States Congress to pass a bill calling on the White house to develop a vigorous policy to end atrocities committed by the Ugandan rebels in Congo Central Africa and Southern Sudan.

RECENT GAINS

Uganda People’s Defense Forces last week captured the wife of the fourth highest-ranking Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) leader, Maj. Gen. Caesar Achellam.

Night Akot, 20, who was captured last week following clashes in Djema in the Central African Republic, was hiding with her two-year-old daughter.

Akot, the daughter of Odong Olum and a former pupil of Bweyale Primary School, was abducted in 2006 at their home in Amuru district.

She was on Monday handed over to the commander of Operation Lightning Thunder, Brig. Charles Otema Awany, at the operation headquarters in Nzara, 22 km north of Yambio town in Southern Sudan.

Akot said she last saw her husband in September 2009.

Achellam, she said, had gone to Darfur for peace talks with the Government.

Awany yesterday said Akot’s testimony was a confirmation of intelligence reports that Joseph Kony had sent Achellam to Darfur, purportedly to find ways of initiating another round of talks.

Akot, who was wounded on both arms and the left leg, is being treated at Nzara.

Dr. Peter Obwoya described her condition as stable but said she would need to be transferred to Kampala for an operation.

The chief of defense forces, Gen. Aronda Nyakairima, was in Nzara on Sunday (9th May 2010) to assess the progress of Operation Lightning Thunder. He also met the commanders, reports New Vision a pro government news paper.

The head of intelligence, Lt. Col. Serunjogi Damulira, said four rebels were killed and others are believed to have escaped with serious injuries. The identities of the dead have not yet been established.

Since late 2008, the LRA has been killing and abducting civilians in DRC, CAR and South Sudan, becoming a destabilizing force in an already volatile region. Despite an ongoing military offensive led by the Ugandan military with the support of regional armies, the rebels have continued to wreak havoc. In the last year and a half, the LRA has killed close to 2000 civilians and abducted over 2600 people. More than 700 abductees are children who were forced into fighting or sexual slavery.

(ST)