Ugandan rebels attack villages, military base in Sudan

September 20th, 2008 - 7:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Nairobi/Juba, Sep 20 (DPA) About 100 militants of the Uganda Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) attacked a military base and three villages in southern Sudan, kidnapping about 50 children, the BBC reported.The children were taken to rebel hideouts after the attack which occurred Friday, a Catholic priest was quoted as saying. A UN spokesman said the attack was an indication that the LRA was trying to increase its troop levels.

A four-year-old child and one soldier were killed in the attack, regional information minister Joseph Ngere told DPA.

A Ugandan military spokesman, Ronald Kakurungu, also confirmed the attacks on the base of the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army (SPLA).

“The LRA attacked the SPLA defensive in the area around Yambio. We are coordinating with the SPLA in case the situation becomes worse because we also have forces there,” he told DPA.

The LRA, known to have a large army of child soldiers, has been fighting against the government in northern Uganda for more than 20 years. Almost two million people have been displaced in the conflict.

Negotiations between the LRA’s political leadership and the government in Kampala failed because LRA leader Joseph Kony repeatedly refused in the last moment to sign peace treaties.

Most recently, the LRA refused to sign a peace deal in April, insisting that the International Criminal Court first withdraw the 2005 arrest warrants for war crimes on five of its leaders.

The rebels are now based in the northeast of Congo, where they fled in 2004, and Kony is believed to be hiding in the Congolese jungle.

After numerous attacks on Congolese villages and the kidnapping of several hundred women and children by the LRA, the Congolese army has increased troops in the region in a bid to drive the rebels out of the bases.

The LRA has also repeatedly attacked villages in the Central African Republic north of the Congo.

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