KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) – Rebels fighting an 18-year insurgency in northern Uganda have killed at least 42 civilians in southern Sudan in the past week, a church leader and Sudanese rebels said.
The Lord’s Resistance Army killed the civilians in villages near Kapeota, 750 kilometres south of Sudan’s capital, Khartoum, said Rev. Paul Yugusuk, a local Anglican church leader, on Saturday.
“It is true that the LRA killings of civilians have been going on and are intensifying,” Yugusuk said from the border town of Nimule.
He said 42 bodies had been found in three villages over the past week and estimated “well over 100″ people had been killed in the last three weeks.
Lord’s Resistance Army rebels rarely talk to journalists and could not be reached for comment.
The Ugandan insurgents claim to be fighting to overthrow Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni. But the force mostly attacks civilians to steal food and abduct children for use as fighters or concubines.
They are believed to have bases in southern Sudan, and have repeatedly launched attacks on Sudanese civilians, reportedly killing scores of people in attacks in June.
On Friday, an official of a Sudanese rebel group, the Equatoria Defense Forces, said the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels killed dozens of civilians in villages near Kapeota and took 2,000 heads of cattle.
“EDF forces were unable to intercept those LRA looters because of the remoteness of the villages from our forces,” the official, Charles Barnaba Kisanga, Kisanga said, in a statement.
The Equatoria Defense Forces is based in Sudan’s Eastern Equatoria state, where the attack took place, and is fighting a war against Sudan’s government.
Ben Parker, spokesman for the United Nations Humanitarian Coordinator for Sudan, said in Nairobi on Saturday that he had not received reports of killings of civilians by the Ugandan rebels, possibly because the alleged attacks took place in a remote area.