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Last Updated: Friday, 23 September 2005, 15:51 GMT 16:51 UK
Ugandan rebel chief 'in DR Congo'
Former abducted child soldiers after their escape
The LRA is notorious for child abductions
The deputy leader of Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army rebel group is seeking asylum in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda's defence minister says.

DR Congo denies receiving an asylum request from the rebel official, Vincent Otti.

The LRA has operated from bases in northern Uganda and southern Sudan for nearly 20 years.

The rebel group has regularly attacked villages in both countries, and has abducted tens of thousands of children.

DR Congo denial

Two groups of LRA rebels had travelled across Sudan to the DR Congo border, one of them led by Commander Otti, Ugandan Defence Minister Amama Mbabazi said.

We think the Congolese authorities and the United Nations force will do the needful
Ugandan Defence Minister Amama Mbabazi
"Otti's group has declared their presence in the DRC and have requested political asylum," he said.

"I am waiting to hear their [the DR Congo government's] response."

Uganda was waiting for the response of the Kinshasa authorities, the minister said.

DR Congo government spokesman Henri Mova Sakanyi denied the authorities had received any asylum request from Vincent Otti.

"We have not received any asylum request concerning Ugandan rebels nor have we got any request for the extradition of LRA rebels on Congolese soil," he told the AFP news agency.

Mr Mbabazi said he thought it would not be necessary for Uganda to take action against the LRA in DR Congo in self defence:

"We think the Congolese authorities and the United Nations force will do the needful," he said.


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