Tuesday, February 21, 2006

South Sudan's Salva Kiir says Sudanese army supports Ugandan LRA

Copy of African News Dimension report Feb 21, 2006:

Sudanese first-vice-president and president of southern Sudan government Lt. Gen Salva Kiir Mayardit said, for the first time, he believes that Sudanese army support Ugandan rebel Lord's resistance Army.

In an interview with the BBC Arabic service, Kiir reiterated an accusation already advanced by many southern responsible. He further said that Ugandan rebels receive support in the suburb of the Southern Sudan capital Juba.

Last December, the responsible of the SPLM intelligence service, Edward Lino, had accused in an interview with the Sudanese al-Sahafa the Sudanese army of supporting the Ugandan rebel LRA.

But, Kiir added he has no prove on the implication of the Sudanese army.

Sudanese Defence Minister Lt-Gen Abdelrahim Mohamed Hussein denied last year receiving any official complaint from the SPLM regarding the involvement of elements of the Sudanese army in supporting the Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army militias.

Sudan's Salva Kiir, had said Saturday on 4 October 2005 that he would hand Kony over to the International Criminal Court. But Kiir said he did not know Kony's whereabouts. The Sudanese government had provided bases for the LRA south of Juba, but after it began to withdraw its support the LRA began raiding and looting Sudanese villages for food, and killing Sudanese civilians.

On 13 October 2005, the ICC unsealed arrest warrants it issued three months earlier for five LRA commanders, including the leader, Joseph Kony.

While Sudan and the International Criminal Court (ICC) differ over Darfur, Khartoum is cooperating in the case of Joseph Kony, one of five top Lord's Resistance Army members named in a sealed indictment compiled by prosecutors of the permanent war crimes court. Warrants for their arrests have been distributed to Uganda, Congo and Sudan.

Sudan once backed the LRA, even as Uganda supported the southern-based Sudan People's Liberation Army in its civil war with the Sudanese government. But Sudan and Uganda normalized relations in 2001, Sudan's southern civil war ended in January and the SPLM joined a national unity government. Ugandan troops have since been allowed to operate in some parts of southern Sudan against the LRA.

Human rights groups say the Lord's Resistance Army has over the years abducted more than 30,000 children, forcing them to become fighters, porters or concubines. The rebels have killed thousands of civilians and forced more than a million to flee their homes, but appears to have no clear political agenda and little contact with the outside world. Source: Sudan Tribune

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