SEPTEMBER 9, 2010: 16 killed in Ugandan LRA attacks in C.Africa

16 killed in Ugandan LRA attacks in C.Africa: authorities

SOURCE: Agence France-Presse

BANGUI — Two attacks by Ugandan rebels on a town in the north of the Central African Republic left 16 people dead including two civilians, police said Thursday.

The rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) attacked on Monday and Tuesday the town of Ouandda Djalle, according to regional police headquarters in Birao contacted by phone from Bangui.

"During the first attack (Monday), five rebels were killed as well as two members of the self-defence committee of Ouandda Djalle. A third person was seriously wounded," a police official said.

"Unhappy about the resistance, members of the LRA launched again a second attack the following day... The second attack left nine people dead among the rebels who retreated into the mountains surrounding the town," the official said.

Inhabitants were supported in their defence during the second attack by the Union of Democratic Forces for Unity (UFDR), a former rebel group that made peace with the Bangui government in 2007.

UFDR troops hunted for the LRA rebels on Wednesday, and freed 45 people who had been taken hostage by the LRA during three attacks in August targetting villages around the town of Bria, an important mining area, the official said.

LRA rebels have kidnapped at least 700 people in attacks in Democratic Republic of Congo and the Central African Republic since February last year, Human Rights Watch said last month.

The LRA, headed by war crimes suspect Joseph Kony, took up arms against the government in northern Uganda in 1988 but since 2005 moved into remote areas in neighboring countries after coming under pressure from the Ugandan army.

The fugitive LRA leader has been on the run since December 2008 when regional states launched a hunt to arrest him after he refused to sign a peace deal with Kampala.

In July this year, Bangui officially appealed to the US government for help in "neutralising" the LRA, and on July 14 France announced that it would also send a mission to the troubled area.

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