JULY 13, 2010: Civilians flee army operation against Ugandan rebels

Civilians flee army operation against Ugandan rebels

SOURCE: Missionary International Service News Agency (MISNA)

Some 30,000 civilians are fleeing violent clashes underway since Saturday morning in the Beni territory, in the North Kivu province, between the Democratic Republic of Congo's Armed Forces (FARDC) and a Ugandan rebel group known as ADF-NALU (Alliance of Democratic Forces-National Army for the Liberation of Uganda). Local civil society groups said that fighting erupted in the Makendi village, 12km east of Erengeti, not far from the Ugandan border, and rapidly spread to various other areas. No official toll has been released by the army, which confirmed the clashes and announced the launching of the "Ruwenzori" operation against the ADF. The Congolese civil society warned of the risk of a humanitarian crisis in the area, where residents fleeing the area are forced to seek makeshift shelter in schools and churches. Ugandan army sources last week stated that they were closely monitoring movements of the group, whose bases are over the border, and heightened the alert along the entire frontier area. The ADF, protagonist of a vast army offensive between 1996 and 2001, was considered definitively defeated in a joint Congolese-Ugandan military operation in 2004. The group initially counted some 3,000 elements, but is now reduced to a little over a hundred. It was included in Washington's black list of terror groups after the 9/11/2001 attacks. The bases of the ADF, active since 1996, were individuated in the Ruwenzori mountain range between Uganda and DR-Congo.

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