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Friday, 11 October, 2002, 18:46 GMT 19:46 UK
Police raid Ugandan paper
Ugandan troops
Ugandan troops have failed to end rebel attacks
Uganda's independent newspaper, The Monitor, failed to appear on Friday after a police raid.

The Monitor's offices in the capital, Kampala, were searched on Thursday night. Mobile phones were confiscated, computers shut down, records were taken and staff reportedly strip searched.

The action follows a lead story in the paper on Thursday which had suggested that rebels in the north had shot down two government helicopters, piloted by expatriates - likely to mean South Africans or Russians.

The army has denied this and reporter Frank Nyakairu has been charged by the police in connection with the article.

The BBC's reporter in Kampala says this is the latest in a number of articles about the conduct of the war against Lord's Resistance Army rebels in the north of the country that have angered the army.

This is the first action of its kind against a newspaper for some time.

Many of the Monitor's staff congregated in the car park on Friday morning. Police were preventing access to the building and it appeared unlikely that the newspaper would appear on Saturday.

Managing editor Charles Onyango Obbo said the paper should be published again in a few days, according to the Associated Press news agency. War

Last May, the Ugandan army launched an offensive in co-operation with the Sudanese Government which, until recently, backed the LRA.

But this has only pushed the LRA back into Uganda, where they have increased their attacks.

The LRA has been conducting a campaign of violence in northern Uganda since 1987 to overthrow the government of President Yoweri Museveni.

On Friday, The Monitor's website was still reporting an army helicopter crash but reported confusion over the circumstances.

It said unnamed military sources said the helicopter gun-ship, flown by expatriates, was shot down by LRA rebels in Adilanga sub-county in Agago, but reported other military sources as saying the helicopter crashed for unspecified "other reasons".

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Major Bantariza
"Those civilians... should get out"

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16 Sep 02 | Africa
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