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Monday, 15 July, 2002, 11:19 GMT 12:19 UK
Ugandan army 'kills rebels'
Ugandan forces in southern Sudan
The Ugandan army has been trying to wipe out the LRA

The Ugandan army has claimed a significant success against the rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in northern Uganda.

At least thirty rebels were killed in two separate attacks over the week-end, according to an army spokesman.

The Ugandan army has been criticised by northern politicians and community leaders for failing to prevent the LRA from carrying out frequent attacks across the north of Uganda.

The attacks have continued despite Uganda's military operation in southern Sudan, aimed at wiping out the LRA.

The LRA has been fighting the government of President Yoweri Museveni for the last 14 years.

Many of its fighters are Ugandans abducted by the LRA from northern Uganda and forced to fight in its army.

President Museveni has promised that the army will continue to pursue the rebels but last week gave permission for a group of bishops representing the main Christian communities in Uganda to hold peace talks with the LRA.

Success

At least 30 LRA rebels were killed on Sunday morning in Agoro, about 50km north of Kitgum town, according to Ugandan army spokesman Major Shaban Bantariza.

Major Bantariza described it as a battle between mobile government forces and a group of at least 100 rebels.

Ugandan soldier
The Ugandan army has been criticised

This is the greatest claim of success by the Ugandan army since the group of approximately 500 rebels re-entered Uganda from southern Sudan over a month ago.

However, other attacks by the rebels over the weekend in Gulu district led to the death of one Ugandan major, and the abduction of 14 civilians, of whom six have now been rescued.

The highly mobile rebels have been carrying out frequent attacks right across the north of the country in recent weeks, prompting criticism that the Ugandan army is incapable of defending the civilian population.

The Ugandan authorities remain publicly optimistic that the military operation will succeed against the rebels.

But the fact that President Museveni recently gave permission for religious leaders to hold peace talks with the LRA has been welcomed by those who feel the military option is not working.

See also:

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