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Africa

2004-01-27

AFRICA/UGANDA - NORTHERN UGANDA’S SILENT WAR MAKES NO SOUND

Kampala (Fides Service) – The LRA Lord’s Resistance Army rebels continue to sack, kidnap and kill in northern Uganda. According to missionaries contacted by Fides whom we will not name for security reasons, “violence continues in silence. There is no sound of weapons because the rebels use machetes to harass and kill. There is no sound from the local press which prefers to keep quiet about rebel incursions in the north. There is no sound from the international community either which appears to ignore the problem”.
“The incursions happen mostly in the district of Pader” local sources told Fides. “And they are carried out by several different LRA groups. LRA leaders have in fact taken refuge in Sudan, leaving a few lower ranking officers to keep up the attacks”. “We hope that in Sudan they will achieve peace, and that this will create conditions for peace in Uganda, since the LRA bases are in Sudan. But our neighbour’s territory is vast and difficult to control: groups like the LRA rebels could go into hiding for years and then come out and strike again unexpectedly anytime” Fides sources conclude.
The Ugandan government has said the amnesty offered to rebels leaders which ended with 2003 will be extended for a few months. After that no clemency will be shown to LRA leaders and amnesty will apply only to ordinary rebel troops if they agree to disarm. The government’s decision has been criticised by members of the Acholi Leaders Peace Initiative who said it was “senseless and a mistake”. (L.M.) (Fides Service 27/1/2004, lines 26 words 282)

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