APRIL 2, 2010: LRA Has Killed 200 in CAR Since 2008

LRA has killed 200 in Central Africa since 2008: residents

BANGUI — The Ugandan rebel Lord's Resistance Army has killed more than 200 people in eastern Central African Republic since 2008, a resident's association said Friday, asking for military help.

The group recommended the forming of self-defence militias and urged the government to set up an army base, in an open letter to Prime Minister Faustin-Archange Touadera.

The Association of Residents of Upper Mbomou (Assoredehmbo), grouping people in three eastern districts, warned that the LRA rebels were extending a reign of terror "with impunity and progressively."

The association said that the number of local people kidnapped by the LRA was more than 400, while the number killed in rebel attacks was more than 200 since February 2008.

The rebels were looting and destroying property as they headed westwards, said the group's letter, which referred to rebel activity in districts close to the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo, where the LRA is also active, and Sudan.

A military source based in the east, where the LRA has waged its insurgency for two years, described the numbers of people killed and abducted as "credible and close to reality."

Assoredehmbo is "grateful" to the Ugandan army, which has intervened on CAR soil since June 2009, but stressed that its "efficiency is limited, because the number of rebels in Central African Republic seems still to be growing and their attacks are multiplying... (and) spreading progressively towards other districts to the west."

The association asked the prime minister to "create a base or a military garrison at Bambouti, a frontier town with Sudan, on the model of the FOMAC (Multinational Force in Central Africa) base installed at Kaga Bandoro" in central western CAR.

"To deal with what is most urgent, we request with insistence the creation of self-defence forces in all the places where the rebels are active," the letter added.

During the last week of March, three attacks by the LRA claimed the lives of 26 people, including 11 civilians, according to a CAR military source.