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Friday, 29 March, 2002, 18:33 GMT
Uganda claims success in Sudan raid
Ugandan children
The LRA has kidnapped thousands of young children
The Ugandan Government says it has captured all four main rebel bases belonging to the rebel group the Lord's Resistance Army inside neighbouring Sudan.

Ugandan Defence Minister Amama Mbabazi said that one camp - Lala, situated about 160 kilometres (100 miles) north of the Ugandan border - was captured on Thursday and the three remaining bases were overrun on Friday.

"The operation began yesterday, by last evening our forces had captured Lala camp and were moving on to other camps," he told Reuters news agency on Friday.

No casualty figures were given, and Mr Mbabazi would not say whether rebels were present at the camps when they were captured.

However the BBC's Will Ross in Uganda says that there is a possibility that the LRA rebels may have simply moved on.

Civilian rescue

Uganda says the operation is the first of a concerted attempt to rescue women and children captured by the LRA for use as slave labour.

President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda
The LRA has been fighting President Museveni for 16 years

It also marks unprecedented co-operation between the governments of Uganda and Sudan.

The military action follows the signing of an agreement earlier this month, whereby Sudan authorised Uganda to pursue the rebels inside its borders.

Sudan agreed to allow Ugandan forces into the country to root out rebel forces, and BBC correspondents say that Mr Mbabazi inferred the agreement between the two countries, which is due to run out on 2 April, may now be extended indefinitely.

Sudanese forces are also said to be on high alert.

Kidnappings

Ugandan forces now face the issue of attempting to free civilian captives - including children - from the LRA.

Correspondents say there is a potential danger that LRA leader Joseph Kony may attempt to use the captives as a human shield to prevent Ugandan forces from capturing him and his fighters.

The LRA has been fighting Ugandan President Museveni for the past 16 years in north of the country, and want to replace the constitution with the Bible's Ten Commandments.

The LRA is said to have abducted up to 12,000 children and turning them into soldiers or, in some cases, concubines.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Will Ross
"It is possible that the rebels have simply moved on"
Joseph Ochieno, Uganda Peoples Congress
"He has basically created his own monster"
See also:

22 Mar 02 | Africa
Ugandan rebels attack Sudan
15 Mar 02 | Africa
Sudan lets Uganda go after rebels
07 Mar 02 | Country profiles
Country profile: Uganda
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