Ugandan rebels kill more than 40 Congolese civilians

December 27th, 2008 - 5:58 pm ICT by IANS  

Kampala (Uganda), Dec 27 (DPA) Ugandan rebel outfit the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), currently facing a regional military offensive in the north-east of Congo, killed 43 civilians and abducted others in deadly attacks around Christmas, military officials said Saturday.”(LRA leader Joseph) Kony is killing the Congolese,” Ugandan army spokesman Major Paddy Ankunda told DPA.

“They attacked civilians in the two areas of Faradge and Suke first on Christmas Eve and on Christmas Day itself,” he said, adding since Dec 24, the death toll has risen to 43.

LRA officials could not be reached for a reaction to the report, but the rebels have said they are still committed to peace despite coming under attack by the Congolese, Ugandan and southern Sudanese armies in mid-December.

The armies began ground and aerial attacks on LRA bases in the Garamba national game park in the remote north-east of Congo.

The rebels have been hiding out in Garamba since late 2004 after being flushed out of their bases in South Sudan.

“The offensive against the LRA is going on,” Ankunda said. “They will eventually be defeated.”

However, the LRA has said that the bases destroyed in the offensive were empty and that none of the rebel leaders have been killed.

The LRA, led by former lay preacher Kony, unleashed terror in Uganda’s northern region, where the rebellion has displaced nearly two
million people from their homes.

Thousands of civilians have died in the decades-long conflict, while thousands of children, mostly children, have been abducted and forced to fight or serve as sex slaves.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2005 issued arrest warrants on five LRA leaders, including Kony, for trial for murder, torture, rape, abductions and the drafting of children in warfare.

The Ugandan government and the rebels entered into talks to end the war mid-2006, but the rebels have refused to sign the final peace treaty this year.

They insist that The Hague-based court should first withdraw its indictments.

The rebels have continued to abduct and kill civilians in Congo, South Sudan and parts of the Central African Republic.

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