Sudan + 1 more

Sudan to assist in fight against Uganda rebels

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KAMPALA, Jan 10 (Reuters) - Sudan plans to send its troops to the south of the country to occupy camps formerly held by Uganda rebels, who have waged a 15-year insurgency against the Ugandan government, officials said.
The occupation of the camps is expected to prevent the rebels, who have proved an elusive target for the Ugandan government forces, from rebasing in southern Sudan.

Led by the self-styled prophet Joseph Kony, the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) is feared for abducting children to use as soldiers and sex slaves and terrorising villagers by cutting off ears and padlocking lips.

"Sudan People's Armed Forces (SPAF) will deploy in the former camps occupied by the LRA as soon as possible," said a communique signed by the defence ministers of Sudan and Uganda and issued to reporters late on Thursday.

"The Sudanese government reiterates its firm position against any contacts by SPAF units with LRA."

The ministers, Uganda's Amama Mbabazi and Sudan's Major General Bakri Hassan Saleh issued the communique after meeting Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni.

Last month the two countries renewed an agreement that allows Uganda's army to pursue Ugandan rebels on Sudanese territory. Sudan had said in November it would not extend the agreement.

Sudan withdrew its support for the rebels in 1999 and allowed the Ugandan army onto its territory last year to flush the LRA from their bases in southern Sudan.

Sudan and its southern neighbour Uganda have in the past traded allegations that each country was allowing rebel groups to operate on their soil.

In their most recent attack in a village dance hall in northern Uganda, the LRA joined in the dancing for several hours before hacking and clubbing five people to death last week.

Museveni, currently in Gulu for the military operation to rout the rebels, has deployed at least 14,000 soldiers as well as tanks and artillery to smash the rebellion.

Reuters - Thomson Reuters Foundation
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