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Ugandan, DR Congo leaders to meet over military hunt for Ugandan rebel group

KAMPALA, Mar 02, 2009 (Xinhua via COMTEX News Network) -- Ugandan, DR Congo leaders to meet over military hunt for Ugandan rebel group Ugandan, DR Congo leaders to meet over military hunt for Ugandan rebel group

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and his Congolese counterpart Joseph Kabila are scheduled to meet this week to review a joint military operation against the Ugandan rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), Ugandan military said here on Monday.

Maj. Felix Kulayigye, Uganda People's Defense Force (UPDF) spokesman, told Xinhua that the two leaders will review the joint military operation and discuss the fate of the operation in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DR Congo).

Uganda, supported by DR Congo and southern Sudan armies, had been given till end of last month to end its three-month joint operation, which has killed about 140 rebels and rescued some 160 abducted civilians.

"We have not pulled out. We are still pursuing the LRA. The summit will decide whether we pull out or not," said Kulayigye.

The spokesman did not disclose the venue of the meeting though they are reportedly to meet on the border between the two countries.

He dismissed reports by David Matsanga, the LRA spokesman, that the rebel group has captured some 76 Ugandan, Congolese and Sudan People's Liberation Army soldiers in combat.

"They have no capacity, that is just Matsanga's hogwash," said Kulayigye.

The operation aimed at forcing the LRA to sign an already negotiated peace agreement has attracted some criticism because of its failure to stop retaliatory attacks by the rebel group.

UN and humanitarian agencies estimated that the elusive rebel group has killed some 900 civilians since the military offensive was launched on December 14 last year.

The LRA's more two-decade insurgency, one of Africa's longest running conflicts, has wreaked havoc in northern Uganda, southern Sudan, DR Congo and the Central African Republic.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed and some 2 million more uprooted by the LRA's brutal rebellion in northern Uganda alone.