Lord\’s Resistance rebels \’kill 200 in Congo\’On 04/29/2019 by admin
Ugandan Lord\’s Resistance Army rebels have killed almost 200 people in northeast Congo, a UN agency says, although rebels issued a swift denial.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in its report that the rebels had killed 189 people and torched 120 houses during the bloody campaign in Democratic Republic of Congo.
However, LRA deputy peace delegation chairman Justin Labeja told news agency AFP by telephone that “the accusations that LRA has killed 200 people in DRC are totally untrue. LRA has not killed anybody.”
Labeja, a long-time confidant of LRA leader Joseph Kony, said the group “is still committed to negotiating with the Ugandan government as long as there are guarantees and the International Criminal Court warrants are suspended.”
Troops from DR Congo, Uganda and southern Sudan have been working together since mid-December to find Kony, who is wanted by The Hague-based tribunal for war crimes.
The vice-governor of Orientale province, Joseph Bangakya Angaze, told AFP by telephone that local authorities would ask the Congolese government today to include the Central Africal Republic in the joint mission.
Peacekeepers \’shot Ugandan soldier\’
Ongoing military operations and the LRA\’s continued presence in northeast DR Congo have made security conditions in the region “extremely volatile” and much of the region inaccessible to aid workers, OCHA said.
In a development which only added to the region\’s volatile state, another UN agency operating in DR Congo, the mission in the country known as MONUC, said Monday that a Ugandan soldier had been shot dead after a UN peacekeeper accidentally fired his machine gun.
The Ugandan solider died from his injuries and his body has been immediately flown home, MONUC said in a statement, adding that a full inquiry would be carried out into the accident.
Ugandan army spokesman Captain Chris Magezi had earlier told AFP in a telephone interview that his forces would hunt down LRA members while protecting civilians.
“We have developed a two-pronged approach to stop these senseless killings: We guard civilian settlements while another force pursues the rebels,” Magezi said.
“We are deploying enough forces to increase pressure on the rebels,” he added.
Rape, murder and massacre
Kony\’s rebels are accused of having raped and mutilated civilians, forcibly enlisting child soldiers and having massacred thousands during two decades of conflict.
The Ugandan army have also accused the rebels of hacking to death 45 people in a church in the northeast on Friday.
“Our pledge to those who have been killed is to hunt for the killers and put them out of action so that they do not kill more people,” Magezi said, adding local civilians should report to them on rebel movements.
LRA spokesman David Nyekorach Matsanga on Sunday dismissed the allegations relating to the church killings as a “propaganda campaign by the Uganda army.”
Ongoing peace talks
Uganda and the LRA have been engaged in peace talks led by the government of south Sudan for more than two years.
Kony, a semi-literate former altar boy, took charge in 1988 of a regional rebellion among northern Uganda\’s ethnic Acholi minority.
He has repeatedly refused to sign a peace deal with Kampala because of the International Criminal Court arrest warrants against him and his lieutenants, despite Uganda inking the final peace agreement concluded in April.
Tens of thousands of people have been killed and nearly two million displaced in two decades of fighting between the Ugandan government and the LRA, which is notorious for abducting children as soldiers and sex slaves.