Uganda: May 21, 2002


The Italian Catholic news agency reported that Sudanese Minister of Labor General (Retired) Alison Magaya underlined on 19 May how the Ugandan LRA rebels were committing grave atrocities in South Sudan. Magaya urged that Sudanese military forces launch an offensive against the LRA. For years, Khartoum has been accused of supporting the rebel movement led by Joseph Kony.

The UK-based advocacy organization African Rights said that the Ugandan army's "Operation Iron Fist" had grave consequences for the prospects of peace and for the people of northern Uganda. The 9 May statement said that by taking the war into southern Sudan, the Ugandan government had "banked on pulling off a spectacular end to the conflict in the north", but that its calculations had not gone according to plan.

They claim that the campaign appeared to have been rushed, and from a military perspective could not be described as a success so far, with the Ugandan and Sudanese forces suffering "exceptionally high casualties" in separate attacks in March (with "scores of men killed or injured").

Meanwhile, Ugandan army spokesman Major Shaban Bantariza said that the UPDF had killed approximately 70 rebels since the operation started, while losing five soldiers and one officer itself. - Adam Geibel


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