Uganda seizes LRA munitions

Aug. 29, 2012 at 4:00 PM
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KAMPALA, Uganda, Aug. 29 (UPI) -- The Uganda People's Defense Forces has captured munitions from insurgent group Lord Resistance Army munitions in the Central African Republic.

In 2009 Ugandan military forces began an offensive against LRA rebels and their leader, Joseph Kony, in the CAR, after Central African Republic officials authorized Ugandan troops to pursue the LRA into CAR territory.

LRA militants have abducted, maimed and killed thousands.

The LRA is estimated to number roughly 250 soldiers. Because of the brutality of its operations, in its 25-year campaign against the Ugandan government, which includes mutilating victims and abducting children to use as sex slaves and porters, the LRA has become international pariahs.

The UPDF, supported by about 100 U.S. Special Forces, is searching the jungle for Kony.

The U.S. Special Forces are primarily providing surveillance capabilities, New Vision newspaper reported Tuesday.

Given the military pressure, the LRA has fragmented into smaller, semi-autonomous groups and Kony is believed by intelligence specialists to be hiding where the borders of the Central African Republic, South Sudan and Sudan intersect.

LRA rebels escaped to Central African Republic jungles but in the most recent encounter between UPDF, Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic troops and LRA forces, a joint force attacked a LRA hideout after the operations flushed them from the Garamba forest.

UPDF spokesman Felix Kulayigye said the encampment was under the control of LRA commander Dominic Ongwen, one of the five LRA commanders indicted by the Hague's International Criminal Court. Ongwen is reportedly Kony's lieutenant in charge of operations.

"The troops killed two LRA rebels," Kulayigye said. "They rescued a 6-year-old child whose parents are in Kony's force and a 19-year-old from the Democratic Republic of Congo was also rescued.

While, other LRA militants and Ongwen reportedly escaped during the assault, the government forces recovered several weapons, including rifles and ammunition.

However, the regional consensus about operations against the LRA is beginning to fray.

Sudan recently expressed its "strong reservations" over a paragraph dealing with the LRA rebels included in U.N. Security Council Resolution 2063 renewing the mandate of U.N. peacekeepers in Darfur.

On July 31, the Security Council, by a vote of 14 in favor and one abstaining, to approve the renewal of the African Union-U.N. Mission in Darfur, with Paragraph 17 of the resolution encouraging UNAMID to "cooperate and share information" on the 'Lord's Resistance Army.'"

Speaking after the vote, Sudan's Ambassador to the United Nations Daffa-Alla Elhag Ali Osman, while stating that his government would continue to cooperate with UNAMID over its "original mandate" added that he had registered "very strong reservations" to Paragraph 17, pointing out that there was no proof of the LRA's presence in Darfur and that the U.N. secretary-general on his latest report about Darfur didn't mention it.

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