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Uganda army 'to stay in DR Congo'

Ugandan soldiers
Ugandan soldiers are trying to defeat the LRA rebels

The Ugandan army says it has been given permission by the Democratic Republic of Congo to continue operations there against the Lord's Resistance Army.

The mandate of the Ugandan army in the DRC had been due to expire this week, but a Ugandan army spokesman said this had now been extended.

A Congolese minister said the extension would last until the end of this month.

Last week a top UN official said the offensive against the Ugandan rebel LRA had been "catastrophic" for civilians.

But he said the operation against the LRA should continue.

The LRA has increased attacks, killing at least 900 people, according to the aid agency MSF, since forces from Uganda, South Sudan and DR Congo began the offensive in December.

Tens of thousands of people around the north-eastern Congolese town of Doruma have fled their homes because of the LRA attacks.

Map

Countries from Uganda to the Central African Republic have suffered 20 years of terror inflicted by the LRA and tens of thousands of children have been abducted to be fighters and sex slaves.

The Ugandan army now looks set to stay in the DRC until the end of February.

That coincides with the planned end of Rwandan army operations against Hutu rebels in the DRC.

The presence of the Rwandan rebel FDLR in DR Congo is one of the factors in some 15 years of conflict in the region.

Rwanda had accused DR Congo of supporting the FDLR, before the two countries agreed to work together against all rebel groups in the area.

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