Wednesday, January 7, 2009

LRA kills 50 in South Sudan

The rampaging Lord's Resistance Army on January 5 killed another 50 people in South Sudan, according to officials in the regional capital of Juba.

The UN's news service, IRIN, reports that the fifty are feared to have been killed and at least nine abducted in attacks on villages in southwest Sudan, near the border with Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).

"We received reports from the state that they abducted seven men and two women," Bashir Bhandi, head of the Southern Sudanese Parliamentary Committee on Communication, told IRIN on 6 January.

Since mid-December, the LRA has killed some 500 people following a Dec. 14 attack on the LRA camps in the Garamba National Park in northeastern DRC.

The surge in violence follows a Ugandan-led offensive, with Southern Sudan and DRC forces, against the rebel group after its reclusive leader Joseph Kony failed once again to sign a Sudan-mediated peace agreement in early December.

"The number of people they killed or kidnapped has gone above 50," Bhandi told IRIN. "They loot and kill. They take them to the forest. None of the people they have taken to the forest has been found alive. They kill them."

"I am told that our military is not ready to face the LRA and the citizens are digging up guns they kept in the ground for their own defence," Jimmy Wongo, an MP from the area said.

"How the LRA can manage to abduct seven men and two women yesterday I don't understand." The Southern Sudan Minister of Parliamentary Affairs, Martin Ellia Lomuro, said officials had done everything to try to halt the killings.

"We did not only close our borders, we supported also the regional initiative to control the LRA," Lomuro told IRIN. "What is happening in Western Equatoria is very strange," he added. "It is a serious matter of concern to both the Legislative Assembly and the executive."

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), has reported that LRA groups had mounted raids in different locations in north-east DRC in the first days of January.

Also in northeastern DRC, a team from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reached the town of Faradje, which the LRA attacked on 25 and 26 December, killing some 70 people and prompting 40,000 to flee.

"Our mission found Faradje pillaged and destroyed by fire," UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond told reporters in Geneva. More than 800 houses, three schools, government buildings and health centres had been burned, with most families losing their annual harvest in the fire, according to UNHCR.

1 comment:

Ingrid Jones said...

Peter: see my post at Congo Watch 08 Jan 09