LRA plans attacks in South Sudan to disrupt elections?
From Sudan Tribune, Wednesday, 17 March 2010 by James Gatdet Dak:
March 17, 2010 (JUBA) – The Ugandan rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) are planning to carry out attacks in Southern Sudan during the April elections, says the spokesman of the Southern Sudan army.
[Photo] LRA soldiers keep guard at the assembly point in Ri-Kwangba on the Sudan-Congo border, Western Equatoria, April 10, 2008. (Reuters)
Maj. Gen. Kuol Deng Kuol said the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA) has confirmed that LRA has planned for massive attacks in Western Equatoria state and Greater Bahr el Ghazal region to coincide with the elections in the region.
Speaking to the UN-sponsored Miraya FM radio based in Juba, Kuol accused the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) of supporting the LRA to destabilize Southern Sudan.
He said the SPLA forces are ready to repel such attacks and provide security to the people during the elections.
Kuol also echoed the recent statement by the Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni that LRA forces are based in Darfur region.
He added that LRA forces have already been spotted in areas of Western Bahr el Ghazal state in their preparation for the attacks.
Earlier Sudan Armed Forces denied the claim that the LRA forces are based in Darfur, describing it as “baseless.”
LRA’s leader, Joseph Kony, had been supported by SAF during the war time and his forces were established or roaming in the three states of Eastern, Central and Western Equatoria before the signing of the CPA that ended the North-South civil war in 2005.
In 2006, the Government of Southern Sudan and Uganda agreed on the initiative to talk peace with the rebels in an effort to end the more twenty years of conflict which began in 1986.
After two years of successful Southern Sudan-mediated talks in Juba that resulted to relative peace in northern Uganda, nearly two million people displaced by the conflict in northern Uganda were able to leave IDP camps and returned to their villages.
However, after concluding the talks by signing several protocols between Uganda government and the rebels including the timetable for implementation of the agreement, Joseph Kony in the last minute refused to sign the compiled Final Peace Agreement document with President Museveni, citing ICC’s arrest warrant for his indictment as an obstacle.
Southern Sudan’s Vice President, Dr. Riek Machar, who was the Chief Mediator in the negotiations between the two parties had to shuttle between Juba and Sudan-DR Congo border looking for Joseph Kony in the wild jungles of thick forests in that region to find him for face-to-face talks in order to convince him to sign, but to no avail.
Kony has since then instead continued with the cross-border international rebellion which affects Southern Sudan, DR Congo, Central Africa Republic and the native country, Uganda. (ST)