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Starvation, tribal tensions force Sudanese refugees into Uganda

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Kampala (dpa) - Persistent attacks by Ugandan insurgents, forceful drafting into a Sudanese former rebel army, tribal tensions and starvation have forced 8,000 Sudanese civilians to flee into northern Uganda since January, United Nations refugee agency officials said Thursday.

"The number of Sudanese refugees who have fled into Uganda since 2004 is over 18,000. But about 8,000 have arrived here since January and these include 2000 who fled here in May,'' UNHCR spokesperson in

Kampala, Roberta Russo told reporters. "The Sudanese moving from their areas say that they do not have food. They are starving. The supply of relief food to the camps for the displaced in some areas has been stopped.''

The refugees are also fleeing forced recruitment by the Sudan Peoples Liberation Army which in December last year signed a peace agreement with the government in Khartoum while others are running away from attacks by the Ugandan rebels of the Lords Resistance Army LRA who have bases in Sudan, Russo said.

"The refugees are fleeing the attacks by the LRA and the forced recruitment into the SPLA. Many talk of tribal tensions in the areas they are coming from. They are fleeing inter-tribal tensions,'' she told journalists.

Uganda is already home to 287,000 Sudanese who fled the just-ended two decades civil war that left about 2 million people dead in the south of Africa's largest country. dpa hw sc

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