Ugandan rebels desperate for supplies attacked a camp for Darfuri displaced persons in south Sudan, killing five people, the region’s army said.
The attack raised fears that the brutal Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), infamous for abducting children and brutally maiming its victims, is moving towards troubled Darfur.
Any LRA presence in Darfur would add to the chaotic mix of armed groups roaming the region, terrorising aid and commercial convoys and hundreds of thousands of Darfuris who fled to makeshift camps.
“The attack happened on the 21st (Oct)… targeting the displaced people from Darfur in a camp,” south Sudan’s army spokesman Kuol Diem Kuol said, adding the attack was in Western Bahr al-Ghazal state which has a long border with Darfur.
Kuol said three police guarding the camp and two Darfuris were killed. “A number of people were abducted,” he added.
A troop of about 100 southern army soldiers chased the attackers, who they believed to be LRA, but had not yet returned.
Kuol said local residents identified the attackers from their language, hair style and dress. The army also is familiar with their battle tactics, having fought them for two decades.
The incident followed a report that suspected LRA rebels clashed with Sudan’s northern army on the South Darfur-CAR border earlier this month.
South Darfur Governor Ali Mahmoud said the insurgents suffered casualties and fled back across the border.
After failed peace talks, the LRA sought refuge in Congo (DRC) and the remote Central African Republic (CAR), far from the reach of any central government. In need of supplies and abductees, the LRA raids southern Sudanese border villages.
Historically south Sudan blamed Khartoum for arming the LRA to destabilise the region. But a 2005 north-south peace deal cut off supply routes for the Ugandan rebels forcing them to leave their south Sudan refuge.
Heavy fighting has largely subsided in Darfur but the spread of arms has led to a collapse in law and order.
Pic: LRA rebels