Uganda: August 28, 2002


On 26 August, Major General James Kazini offered Lord's Resistance Army rebels a safe corridor to either Owiny Kibul or Kisengo, both in southern Sudan. The rebels were afraid to move to the agreed assembly points without a cease-fire, assuming they would be attacked. The LRA had complained that Ugandan troops were still attacking their positions. The army told the press that one of its helicopter gunships had attacked rebels in the northern Lira district on the 26th, killing two and wounding 10 civilians allegedly being used as human shields by the rebels. 

The rebels also claimed that they were scared they would contract Ebola and malaria if they went to those towns, claiming that some Ugandan soldiers who contracted Ebola in DR Congo in 1998 were transferred to Owiny Kibul and several died there. Ugandan military sources considered this just another weak excuse. On the 28th, President Yoweri Museveni said he would only accept the ceasefire declared by the rebels if they agreed to his terms.

Meanwhile, 242 Ugandan troops began pulling out of the northeastern Congolese town of Beni on the 26th and others will be flown out of the northern town of Gbadolite later this week. The Ugandans had two battalions still in the DRCongo, each of about 800 men. In July 2001, Uganda withdrew six of it's 10 battalions deployed in Congo. Kampala later sent some of them back to quell tribal fighting in northeastern Congo, where Ugandan businessmen have mining and timber interests. Tensions still exist with Uganda's old ally Rwanda, with the Rwandan government again denied Ugandan claims linking it to the LRA on 28 August. - Adam Geibel


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