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Sudan Tribune

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South Sudanese flee homes amid raids by Ugandan rebels-UN

KHARTOUM, Sudan, May 5, 2005 (AP) — Thousands of Sudanese have fled their homes in the south to escape increasing and brutal raids on their villages by Ugandan rebels, the United Nations said.


Ugandan army soldiers display weapons captured from the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) in Kipwayi hills, some 50 miles inside Sudan near the border with Uganda, on April 7, 2005. (AFP) .

Refugees who have fled to U.N. camps have said rebels from the Lord’s Resistance Army swept into their villages, hacking residents to death, burning houses and destroying crops, the United Nations Advance Mission in Sudan said in a statement released Wednesday.

The violence comes as the U.N. is starting to deploy a 10,000-troop peacekeeping force in the south to monitor a peace treaty reached between Sudanese rebels and the government in Khartoum, ending 21 years of civil war.

Though the peacekeepers are not mandated to deal with the Ugandan rebels, they can take action if the LRA interferes with their activities, said peacekeepers spokesman Col. Richard Winchester.

“We would do so (take action) if confronted by the LRA,” Winchester told reporters. “We would hope to coordinate our activities with the government of Sudan , because the LRA is a threat to all, to the future of the south and not only to the UNMIS, and we all recognize that.”

The Lord’s Resistance Army rebels have been battling the Ugandan government for 18 yeas, waging a campaign of murder, rape and abductions in northern Uganda and long using southern Sudan as a base. A U.S. State Department report in February estimated 12,000 people have been killed in the conflict and some 20,000 children kidnapped by LRA rebels.

LRA attacks have spread in recent months along the eastern shores of the Nile River from northern Uganda town of Adjumani across the border into south Sudan , where rebel activity appears to be on the increase in a triangle bounded by the towns of Nimule, Juba and Torit, said UNAMIS spokeswoman Radhia Achouri.

Since the beginning of the year, more than 4,000 people from southern Sudan have traveled to a refugee transit center on the shores of the Nile River in northern Uganda run by the U.N. refugee agency and the Ugandan government, the agency said.

After rebels destroy crops, survivors from villages are driven away by hunger and fear, the UNHCR said. Most arriving at its transit center are in poor condition – our children died on arrival in the past four weeks, the agency said.

Winchester said peacekeepers will begin deploying in the south in 10 days. The force is to monitor the Jan. 9 peace agreement between the government and main southern Sudanese rebel force, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement.