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The National Resistance Army of rebel leader Yoweri Museveni...

By
CHARLES MITCHELL

NAIROBI, Kenya -- The National Resistance Army of rebel leader Yoweri Museveni declared itself the new government of Uganda Sunday after seizing the capital of Kampala in two days of fighting with government troops.

Reports from Kampala said the streets were littered with bodies of hundreds of rebels and troops killed in the two-day siege that capped five years of NRA guerrilla warfare. Most of the city was without electricity or water.

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Thousands of jubiliant Ugandans swarmed into the streets Sunday to welcome the rebels, who seized control of the capital and its sister city of Entebbe Saturday night, Western diplomats in Nairobi said.

'We regard ourselves as the government of Uganda,' National Resistance Army official Eriya Kategaya said in Nairobi Sunday. 'We are in effective control. This is our formal victory announcement.'

Museveni was in Kampala in control of the new government and 'directing the war' against government forces still holding parts of the east African nation, rebel leaders said in Nairobi.

In Washington, a State Department spokeswoman said all Americans in Uganda had been accounted for and that any American wishing to leave the country will be airlifted to Nairobi on a chartered flight, scheduled for Tuesday or Wednesday.

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The spokeswoman said she did not know the exact number of Americans in the country or how many were civilians. She said the small U.S. Embassy staff of 21 people -- including a U.S. Marine guard -- were at the compound.

Diplomats said fighting erupted Sunday in Jinga, 45 miles east of Kampala, between the rebels and about 7,000 government troops that fled the capital and tried to regroup for a counterattack.

Ugandan leader Gen. Tito Okello, who seized power in a coup last July, flew by helicopter to the Kenyan border town of Busia Saturday for a meeting with Kenyan officials, the Kenyan Sunday Nation newspaper said.

'I am going back to fight and regain power,' the newspaper quoted Okello as saying.

Museveni met with U.S. Ambassador Robert Hoedek and diplomats from Britain and the European Economic Community to discuss the security situation in the country, a British envoy in Nairobi said.

Diplomats in Kampala said Museveni addressed the nation on state-run Uganda Radio, which was shut down during the past two days of fighting, and promised to bring peace to the country.

Museveni said about 6,000 government soldiers were captured during the fighting and that some agreed to join the NRA. He offered to open 'a dialogue' with other rebel groups that teamed with the government against the NRA.

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Museveni ordered the immediate suspension of foreign trade and asked civil service workers to remain at their posts. One high-level government official, Interior Minister Paul Ssemogerere, was taken into custody, a spokesman for the rebels said.

Telephone and telex links with Uganda were severed when the rebels began their siege on the capital, leaving radio contact between diplomats in Nairobi and their missions in Kamapla the only source of information on the fighting.

Britain had ordered the evacuation of its 550 citizens, but its plans to remove foreigners from the country were apparently suspended as the situation stabilized.

A plane carrying 10 foreigners from the country's northeastern section -- the scene of heavy fighting between rival factions within the military -- landed in Nairobi Sunday.

The evacuees said they were terrorized and subjected to mock executions by government soldiers who fled the advancing rebel forces in Kampala and went on a orgy of looting outside the capital, according to diplomats.

'One soldier told me I was going to die and stuck a gun in my chest,' U.N. employee Badrul Islam said after arriving in Nairobi. 'At the last second he moved it aside and fired a burst.'

The NRA has waged a five-year guerrilla war against the governments of former president Milton Obote and Okello's military regime. Much of the violence has resulted from tribal animosities.

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The 10,000-man rebel army is dominated by the majority Baganda tribe, which the British favored during colonial days. Obote and Okello are from northern tribes.

The NRA and the government signed a peace and power sharing agreement in Nairobi, the Kenyan capital Dec. 17 that called for an immediate cease-fire, the freezing of all troop movements and a half share of the ruling Military Council for the NRA.

The provisions of the accord were largely ignored and both sides used the lull in the fighting to reposition and resupply their forces. The guerrillas claimed the military committed widespread human rights abuses after the accord was signed.

Museveni launched his guerrilla movement in 1981 after accusing Obote of rigging national elections that brought him to power in the years following the overthrow of the dictator Idi Amin in 1979.

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