Ugandan rebels kill seven in south Sudan – church

KAMPALA, Dec 12 (Reuters) – Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels hacked to death three children and four women in an attack in lawless southern Sudan, a local religious leader said.

The rebels are in talks with Uganda’s government to end 18 years of civil war, but residents say marauding LRA bands sometimes raid settlements on both sides of the border, stealing food and killing or kidnapping civilians.

“Our workers were told the rebels came at midnight on Friday and cut to pieces the seven people with machetes,” Reverend Paul Yugusuk, head of the Anglican Church in southern Sudan’s remote Lomega archdeaconry, said by telephone.

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He said eight other people who were taken to hospital said about 30 LRA fighters had attacked the village of Rejaf, on the banks of the White Nile.

The war in neighbouring northern Uganda has driven 1.6 million people into refugee camps and triggered what aid workers call one of the world’s worst humanitarian disasters.

Little is known about the motives of the cult-like LRA, whose insurgency has been marked by the massacre of civilians and the abduction of tens of thousands of children.

Last month the government declared a limited truce to let the rebels, led by self-proclaimed mystic Joseph Kony, meet local officials and traditional tribal leaders.

But analysts say the LRA, based mostly in southern Sudan, has been split up by Ugandan military attacks in recent months, and that small groups of fighters continue to roam the forests and hills of the border, cut off from their commanders.

The government’s ceasefire expires on Wednesday, and northern religious leaders – who expect to be the next group to meet the rebels – have called for it to be extended.

Previous attempts to end the war through dialogue have stalled over mistrust on both sides, but government officials and western diplomats believe the current efforts seem the best chance yet to end one of Africa’s most bitter conflicts.

Yugusuk said it was vital the talks succeed because the LRA in its current form posed an even greater threat to communities in southern Sudan, many of them already uprooted by a separate war between Khartoum and southern rebels.

“The LRA are becoming very dangerous now for our people because they are operating in small groups and you never know where they will attack,” he told Reuters.

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Source

(Listed if other than Religion News Blog)
Reuters, USA
Dec. 13, 2004
Daniel Wallis
www.sudantribune.com

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