Uganda: June 8, 2002


The Ugandan People's Defense Forces' 4th Infantry Division has had some recent successes in hunting down the Lord's Resistance Army rebels in the Sudan. At least 10 of LRA rebels died when they were ambushed 1-2 June by a UPDF unit under COL Kidega.  At the same time, the UPDF found the bodies of nine fighters who had been executed by Kony shortly before the UPDF attacked his Imotong mountains hideout in southern Sudan. Kony and his assistant Otti had fled, abandoning an unspecified amount of weapons. At least eight children escaped from LRA captivity during this UPDF pursuit.

On 4 June, the Ugandan newspaper "New Vision" reported that Defense Minister Amama Mbabazi met his Sudanese counterpart BG Bakri Hassan Saleh for talks in Khartoum, during which they reviewed UPDF's "Iron Fist" operations.

About 120 UPDF soldiers had entered into an LRA ambush on morning of 5 June at Owiny-Kibul in Sudan, but the UPDF company by CPT Godfrey Musisi, assisted by CPT Kibula, counterattacked with armored vehicles and heavy artillery. They were attacked by 150 LRA rebels who had come down from their hiding place in the Imatong mountains to forage for food and were being followed by the Ugandan troops. In the ensuing firefight, LRA commander and signals chief LTC Otim Okello Lumumba and 66 other LRA rebels were killed. Lumumba was shot during a fierce battle at Imotong Hill (about 30 miles from the Uganda-Sudan border).  Captured, he succumbed to the bullet wounds either right before or during his evaculation by a UPDF helicopter gunship to Gulu's UPDF Fourth Division headquarters for treatment. His body was taken to Gulu Central Police Station Mortuary for viewing by relatives that evening. Many of the 67 rebels killed were officers, UPDF spokesman MAJ Shaban Bantariza claimed, "because we found many abandoned (insignias) bearing ranks of captains and majors." Two Ugandan soldiers were wounded. 

UPDF Commander MG James Kazini has publicly promised to resign if Joseph Kony of the LRA/M is not killed by Dec. 2002. The army said Kony's recent attempts to have talks with the army was a trick to buy time. - Adam Geibel


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