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Last Updated: Wednesday, 11 February, 2004, 18:27 GMT
Ugandan army seeks priest's exit
Father Carlos Rodriguez (Pic: Spanish Episcopal Conference)
Father Rodriguez was trying to broker an end to the war
A Roman Catholic priest has been accused of "making false allegations" against the security forces and may have to leave war-torn northern Uganda.

Father Carlos Rodriguez, from Spain, had accused the army of starting a fire at a camp for displaced people and then shooting at people as they escaped.

The army was unhappy with this and a security committee meeting in Gulu recommended the priest leave the area.

An army spokesman said the priest should leave "for his own safety".

The LRA has been fighting a brutal war against the government of President Yoweri Museveni since 1987.

The BBC's Will Ross says it will now be up to the national security committee whether or not the Spanish cleric can remain in the north of Uganda.

"He is always misrepresenting what is happening on the ground," army spokesman Major Shaban Bantariza told the BBC Network Africa programme.

He denied the attempt to get him to leave the area was a bid to silence army critics.

"He is not the only person in this country that has criticised some aspects of our failings," he said.

'Misrepresenting'

Father Rodriguez has been working with northern religious leaders trying to broker peace between the army and the LRA.

Victims of the war
The world court is investigating the LRA's alleged atrocities
The priest says he is playing a positive role in persuading rebels to give up the rebellion, but he has had public disagreements in the past.

When priests held a meeting with rebels in the bush in 2002, the army attacked - and accused the priests of being rebel collaborators.

Father Carlos and his colleagues survived but sustained injuries.

He once stated "Nobody is winning this war - we are all losers."

He has also criticized the operation of the Ugandan army saying: "So many innocent people have perished and have been gleefully counted as rebels killed."

President Yoweri Museveni responded saying: "Father Carlos's arguments like most arguments of pacifists are misleading and erroneous."

The Ugandan army has been unable to end the rebellion, despite Sudan allowing it to enter southern Sudan, where they had their bases.

Thousands of people in the north and east of Uganda have fled their homes for the towns for fear of being abducted by the rebels.

The LRA often forces boys to become child soldiers and girls to be sex slaves.




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