Monday, August 25, 2008

UN peacekeepers deployed to east DRC after LRA attacks

Aug 20, 2008 (UN News Centre Africa) report - 'DR Congo: UN peacekeepers deployed to east after rebel attacks' - excerpt:
United Nations peacekeepers and soldiers from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have been jointly deployed in the eastern provinces of Ituri and Orientale to protect civilians after attacks by the rebel group known as the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).

A spokesman for the UN Mission in Congo (MONUC), Michel Bonnardeaux, told a press briefing today that the Ugandan rebel group had attacked and robbed villages around Duru over the past week. He said the Ituri Patriotic Front had also launched sporadic attacks in the Irumu area, and remained a serious threat.

MONUC went on to report further unrest in eastern DRC, including continued regrouping and recruitment by the Mayi-Mayi in North Kivu.

Aid agencies say that eastern DRC continues to be plagued by serious human rights abuses, seven months after the signing of peace accords at the Kivus conference in January.

DR Congo: UN peacekeepers deployed to east after LRA attacks

Photo: MONUC backs DRC campaign to disarm national and foreign armed groups (caption & file photo/UN News Centre)
Full story: UN News Centre - Africa 20/8/08 06:00
www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=27768&Cr=monuc&...

[Cross posted today at Congo Watch http://congowatch.blogspot.com]

Last week, south Sudan troops attacked Ugandan LRA terrorists on DR Congo border?

At an African Union summit in Egypt last month, the top US diplomat for Africa warned that Ugandan LRA leader, Joseph Kony, was re-arming.

Source: Aug 24, 2008 Reuters report, copied here below:
Uganda rebels accuse south Sudan of attack

Sun Aug 24 2008 KAMPALA (Reuters South Africa)

A spokesman for Uganda's fugitive northern rebels accused south Sudanese troops of attacking guerrilla positions on Sunday on the Congo border, preventing a peace meeting.

Officials from the South Sudanese Liberation Army (SPLA) could not immediately be reached for comment, and there was no independent confirmation of the clash.

"Sometime last week there was a skirmish after SPLA attacked our positions," David Nyekorach-Matsanga, a spokesman for Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels, said by telephone from the south Sudanese capital Juba.

"We thought that was a mistake. But today they repeated it when they attacked LRA at Nabanga."

He gave no other details, but said a planned meeting in the area between LRA representatives and their elusive leader Joseph Kony had been cancelled.

A two-decade civil war in northern Uganda forced 2 million people from their homes and also destabilised neighbouring parts of oil-producing south Sudan and mineral-rich eastern Congo.

Kony is wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Two years of peace talks collapsed in April when he failed to appear on the border to sign a final peace deal.

At an African Union summit in Egypt last month, the top U.S. diplomat for Africa warned that the LRA leader was re-arming.

(Reporting by Frank Nyakairu; editing by Daniel Wallis and Tim Pearce)
Source: http://africa.reuters.com/wire/news/usnWAL471739.html
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Map showing Sudan/DR Congo border

Map showing Darfur, Khartoum, Omdurman, Shendi, Abyei

Map courtesy Google news/Aug 2008 archive http://sudanwatch.blogspot.com

(Cross posted at sister site Congo Watch - http://congowatch.blogspot.com)

Friday, August 22, 2008

LRA chief Kony won't sign a peace accord with Uganda until an international warrant for his arrest is withdrawn

By Eric Ombok and Karl Maier
August 22, 2008 (Bloomberg) - Ugandan Rebel Kony Wants Arrest Warrant Withdrawn (Update1):

Joseph Kony, the leader of the rebel Lord's Resistance Army, won't sign a peace accord with Uganda until an international warrant for his arrest is withdrawn, a spokesman for the group said.

Kony will demand the lifting of the warrant at a scheduled Aug. 24 meeting with the United Nations special envoy, former Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano, and Southern Sudan's vice president, Riek Machar, at Ri-Kwangba, a camp on Sudan's border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, the spokesman said.

"Kony is going to tell the world that he would append his signature, but the warrants are here,'' LRA spokesman David Nyekorach Matsanga told reporters today in Kenya's capital, Nairobi. Kony is prepared to be tried under Uganda's traditional and formal legal systems, he said.

Kony, a former Catholic altar boy who says the LRA is inspired by the Ten Commandments, is wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes such as murder, mutilation, rape and the abduction of thousands of children as soldiers.

In April, Kony refused to sign a final peace agreement because he wanted assurances about his safety. Uganda's government said last month it won't meet the rebels again until they sign the accord.

The LRA justifies its rebellion by saying forces loyal to President Yoweri Museveni attacked the Acholi people, who formed the rank and file of the Ugandan army, after he overthrew Tito Okello, an Acholi, in 1986. The majority of the LRA are from the Acholi.

As the war intensified, the LRA targeted local villagers and abducted children to use as soldiers, porters and sex slaves, Amnesty International and other rights groups said.

The Ugandan government responded by forcing almost 2 million civilians, including about 90 percent of the Acholi people, into "protected villages,'' according to rights groups such as Amnesty and Human Rights Watch.

To contact the reporters on this story: Eric Ombok in Nairobi via Johannesburg at pmrichardson@bloomberg.net; Karl Maier in Rome at kmaier2@bloomberg.net.

Last Updated: August 22, 2008 04:38 EDT
Source: http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601116&sid=apC3chpDCdaM&refer=africa

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