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Friday, 22 March, 2002, 15:01 GMT
Ugandan rebels attack Sudan
At least two army officers have died following an attack by Ugandan rebels on a unit of both Ugandan and Sudanese soldiers in southern Sudan.

The Ugandan army has said one of its captains died after fleeing the attack, while a Sudanese diplomat says a Sudanese colonel was killed, along with nine of the rebels from the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).

Captain Kheril Magara (Pic courtesy New Vision)
Captain Magara suffered from hypertension

The attack on Wednesday is the first by the LRA on their former allies in the Sudanese army, since Sudan allowed Ugandan soldiers to enter its territory earlier this year.

For many years, Sudan let the LRA use its territory to launch attacks on northern Uganda, while Sudan accused Uganda of backing southern Sudanese rebels.

Ugandan Captain Kheril Magara was with a unit of the Sudanese army which was attacked by up to 100 LRA rebels.

Captain Magara fled the attack and collapsed and died, while another Ugandan officer was missing, said army spokesman Major Shaban Bantariza.

Ten Commandments

Captain Magara was suffering from hypertension and his body had no sign of bullet wounds, the spokesman said.

He was one of four Ugandan liaison officers working with a Sudanese army unit between Nisitu and Jabeleni, 30km south-east of Juba in southern Sudan.

Sudanese charge d'affairs Mohammed Sirajjidin told Associated Press news agency that the Sudanese army had pursued the rebels, killing nine and recovering weapons from them.

Thousands of children have been abducted by LRA rebels

The LRA says it wants to rule Uganda according to the Biblical Ten Commandments.

But it has abducted up to 12,000 young girls and boys who become either sex slaves or child soldiers.

The LRA attacks came as the Ugandan army announced a major new offensive in Sudan to hunt down the LRA's leader, Joseph Kony.

Major Bantariza said bluntly that the aim was to "capture or kill Mr Kony".

The BBC's East Africa correspondent, Ishbel Matheson says that the rebel leader has in the past proved to be an elusive foe.

See also:

19 Mar 02 | Africa
Uganda tackles wife-beating taboo
15 Mar 02 | Africa
Sudan lets Uganda go after rebels
07 Mar 02 | Country profiles
Country profile: Uganda
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