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LRA Supported by GoS Overrun more villages in Equatoria - Action now

Equatoria Defence Forces (EDF)
July 6th 2004

Even as EDF was issuing a press Release on 26th June 2004, asking the International Community and IGAD to condemn Government of Sudan (GoS) because of its arming and use of LRA, the GoS continued its double standard by actively supporting more LRA attacks in Equatoria.

According to Cdr Martin Kenyi, former EDF General Chief of Staff, beginning on June 25th 2004, three task forces of LRA numbering up to 2,000 men were ferried from their positions in Torit and Juba-Torit road, by GoS army trucks and lorries to Koro Lakabata, about 9 miles from Torit. From this position the heavily armed LRA then marched on foot to Gangala near the Government garrison position of Jebel Mille. From there these LRA rebels launched attacks against the two villages of Jebel Guttni and Kor Englizi, overrunning and ransacking these villages, burning the villages and looting everything. From there they then headed in two columns marching towards Pura and Lohla South of Kor Englizi hoping to attack Lowai from the rear by surprise. But our gallant forces in Lowai were well prepared and fought and repulsed the enemy. The enemy then regrouped with the help of GoS supplies and marched towards the village of Langairo which had suffered before in other attacks and EDF/SPLA gallant forces there were well prepared this time and the enemy were repulsed also in their attempt to overrun Langairo for the second time in as many months. All along helicopters of the Sudanese army could be seen in the air bringing logistics to the front line and evacuating the LRA wounded towards Lolire near Torit. At least three military helicopters of the GoS were participating in the operations of LRA.

With their failure to overrun Longairo and Lowai the LRA enemy marched on the EDF positions of Moti and Lolyanga which they succeed in overrunning with their shear number and because of its proximity to GoS positions and as our commanders had no time to reinforce our gallant forces there in time. The LRA then tried then to occupy Ihlong Mountains but our forces denied them these positions also and they withdraw under heavy fighting, beyond the red line towards Ramniyo near the GoS position of Korodile. As of yesterday our forces had more skirmishes with the enemy in Northern Torit sector when they tried again to attack EDF positions there but were repulsed.

The three days operations by LRA (25th to 27th June 2004) while actively supported by GoS army had again resulted in thousands of people being displaced and more villages devastated with cattle and all food stocks gone. Some 4,000 civilians ran to seek shelter with the army in Magwi (joining thousands already there) where they are displaced as the livelihoods of their villages have been taken away. Another 10, 000 are returning to their burnt villages without food and some are being forced to cross to GoS side in search of food. Cdr Martin Kenyi ( EDF) and Cdr Obotu Mamur ( SPLA) are both appealing to NGOs to provide shelter and food to the affected civilians.

On the side of causalities our gallant forces defended the civilians highly and we are not aware of any deaths among the civilian yet as they took shelter behind our soldiers. Seven EDF soldiers were killed and three were wounded. For the LRA enemy they retreated leaving behind twenty (20) dead rebels.

The three days operations by LRA while actively supported by Sudanese Army clearly demonstrates that Khartoum is not sincere about the peace it is being forced to negotiate and sign in Kenya, and all along they have been negotiating in bad faith. The former EDF now allied to SPLA demands that IGAD and the International community and sponsors of the peace process condemn Khartoum and demand an immediate end of GoS sponsoring and arming of LRA to fight its war in the Southern Sudan. We demand members of VMT and CPMT go to the mentioned areas to verify the facts and demand an explanation why Khartoum is arming LRA to destabilise the Southern Sudan and especially Equatoria Region at this time it pretends to be talking peace. Unless immediate action is taken to stop these actions of Khartoum, the peace process could halt if EDF forces of the SPLA pursue the enemy beyond the red line and launch attacks against LRA positions within GoS army positions and thereby drawing Sudanese army into the fighting. IGAD and International Community must act now to prevent an all out war in Equatoria. SPLM leadership and Special envoy Lt Gen Lazaro Sumbeiywo of IGAD must take these developments as a matter of urgency before the situation deteriorates further.

Charles Barnaba Kisanga

- Secretary General
- Equatoria Defence Forces (EDF)
- Tel: +44117 959 4549
- E-mail: ckisanga03@yahoo.co.uk