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Wednesday, 11 October, 2000, 18:27 GMT 19:27 UK
Five die in Uganda disco attack
Ugandan military
The army is to investigate the attacks
By Anna Borzello in Kampala

Rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) have killed at least eight people in separate attacks in the northern town of Gulu.

There has been a recent resurgence of rebel activity but they have seldom attacked in the centre of town.

The attackers crept into the grounds of the disco in the early hours of Tuesday morning, briefly opened fire and then lobbed two stick grenades among the dancers who were celebrating Independence Day.

According to Walter Ochora, Gulu's local council chairman, two people were killed instantly.

Another person died on the way to hospital, while two others died on arrival.

Forty-eight people were also injured.

Separate attacks

The rebels then ran north of the town where they killed two people near the Catholic mission.

They also raided a village where they slaughtered a man, looted property and made off with a boy, who later escaped.

Lord's Resistance Army rebels have been operating in the north since 1988.

Children
The LRA have kidnapped hundreds of children
The rebels are based in camps in government-held territory in south Sudan - and periodically cross the border to abduct young people, loot property and ambush vehicles.

Since February this year the north has been relatively peaceful.

However, in the past two weeks there has been an upsurge of incidents - including a rebel ambush in which a 71-year-old Italian missionary was shot dead.

Fears

Mr Ochora told me that people in Gulu were now anxious about the future, particularly as rebels recently dropped a letter in which they threatened to begin killing 2000 people a month from November.

The army commander, Major-General Jeje Odongo,  was due to travel to Gulu on Wednesday to brief the commanders in the region and try and work out the cause of the current problems.

It is not clear what has sparked off the latest violence.

However, the attacks come as Uganda and Sudan have been meeting to find ways to normalise relations.

Among their resolutions are that the LRA should be relocated 1000 km (625 miles) north of Uganda's border, a decision which is unlikely to please the rebels.

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See also:

15 Mar 00 | Africa
Peace far off in Uganda's north
06 Jan 00 | Africa
Uganda's fight for its children
05 Mar 00 | Africa
Uganda rebels kidnap missionaries
06 Jan 00 | Africa
Attacks breach Uganda peace deal
07 Dec 99 | Africa
Uganda offers amnesty to rebels
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