Uganda: Zombie Terrorists Keep Spreading


December 1, 2009: The government is responding to criticism from South Sudan, Congo, the Central African Republic (CAR), and the UN regarding the LRA. Earlier this year the government contended the LRA had been defeated in northern Uganda. Now, given LRA attacks elsewhere in east and central Africa, the government is clarifying that statement. The Ugandan Army now describes the LRA as “diminished but not yet defeated.” The LRA, the government insists, is not a threat in northern Uganda, but it still (obviously) has active cadres. Analysts in Africa are debating the exact number, but South Sudanese have said that the LRA has up to six forces (cadres), with perhaps a total of 500 fighters. The army is also being more forthcoming about anti-LRA operations outside of Uganda. The army now openly admits it has special forces teams deployed in the CAR (see report of November 19). The new openness is likely spurred by UN calls for closer and more public cooperation in the region, among nations under attack and in cooperation with various UN peacekeeping operations.

November 28, 2009: The King of Buganda (the tribe)and his tribal government are opposing a new country-wide land law. The law gives tenants more rights to oppose a landlord's attempt to evict them. The Buganda tribe controls several large parcels of land in Uganda. The Bugandans claim this is another attempt by the national government to limit traditional tribal rights and powers. This has led to violence and could lead to more. Bugandan tribesmen rioted in September

November 26, 2009: The government is considering a European Union (EU) proposal to deploy 200 EU trainers to Uganda. The EU group will train Somali police and soldiers, perhaps as many as 2000 over 12 months. Uganda sees this as being in its own interest, since it provides the largest peacekeeping troop contingent in Somalia.

November 25, 2009: The African Union (AU) admits that Burundian and Ugandan troops serving as peacekeepers in Somalia have not been paid for at least five months. The troops last received a paycheck in May 2009. The AU blames donors who have failed to meet financial pledges to support the force. Uganda has lost 37 soldiers since it sent a contingent to serve with UNISOM. Burundi has lost 43.

The Central African Republic is reporting another firefight between LRA rebels and Ugandan Army forces. There appear to have been a series of skirmishes in mid-November. Around November 18th, an LRA force of approximately 40 militiamen attacked the village of Djemah. Villagers said the LRA had guns and machetes. The attackers killed 11 people. A Ugandan military unit was informed of the attack and it counter-attacked the LRA near the Ngoangoa River. The various reports of this incident provide further evidence that Ugandan special operations teams are operating quite openly in the CAR. So far the CAR government has not officially acknowledged the Ugandan soldiers' presence.

November 24, 2009: West Equatoria state in Sudan reported a series of attacks by LRA militiamen. The LRA has killed at least seven people in the Nzara area. The Government of South Sudan (GOSS) has repeatedly complained to the Ugandan government about the LRA attacks. At least 200 Sudanese have been killed in alleged LRA attacks since January 2009. There is a domestic Sudanese political angle, too. The GOSS and many south Sudanese claim the LRA is still supported by the national government (of Sudan). The LRA attacks are part of a plan to disrupt the 2010 Sudanese national elections.

November 20, 2009: Nine LRA fighters surrendered to Congolese forces. The Ugandan military reported the defectors were turned over to the control of a Ugandan in the Congo (UPDF 69th Battalion).

November 19, 2009: Security officials reported the military killed 34 Karamojong tribal warriors in a series of firefights that occurred on November 13 and November 17. Approximately 200 warriors attacked two villages, attempting to steal cattle. A military unit tried to stop the attacks by negotiation but the warriors fired on the unit. The military said it suffered two wounded in the firefights.

An official spokesman said that a Special Forces unit operating in the CAR has killed a senior LRA commander. The firefight took place on November near the village of Obo (eastern CAR, near Sudan border). The government spokesman identified the slain LRA commander as Okello Okutti.

November 18, 2009: The UN Security Council condemned LRA attacks in the Congo, CAR, and southern Sudan. The council resolution, however, also commended governments for improving the ability of their security forces to take coordinated actions against the LRA. The council has directed MONUC (UN Mission in the Congo), UNMIS (UN Mission in Sudan, monitoring the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement), MINURCAT (UN Mission in the CAR and Chad), UNAMID (African Union-UN “hybrid” peacekeeping force Darfur) and BONUCA (another UN operation in the CAR) to also coordinate efforts. Presumably this will improve intelligence sharing.


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