Ugandan military intelligence units have been hunting Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels in Central African Republic (CAR) since last month with the permission of the CAR government, Uganda’s army said.
A Ugandan-led offensive late last year targeted guerrilla hideouts in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo, dispersing LRA fighters but failing to strike the rebels’ top commanders, three of whom are wanted by the International Criminal Court.
Uganda’s military spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Felix Kulayigye, told Reuters that officials from southern Sudan, Kinshasa, Kampala and Bangui met a month ago and agreed to allow Ugandan army units into CAR to fight the insurgents.
“(Ugandan army) squads entered Central African Republic under the auspices of the joint security meeting,” he said.
“It was agreed that since (LRA leader Joseph) Kony is a regional problem, he should be pursued into Central African Republic where he had gone.”
Kulayigye said several dozen intelligence officers were operating in CAR and eastern Congo, and that Kampala believed Kony was making his way to Sudan’s restive western Darfur region. CAR officials were not immediately available to comment.
LRA fighters have made sporadic attacks in areas bordering southern Sudan, eastern Congo and CAR since Kinshasa allowed Ugandan troops to hit rebel bases in eastern Congo in December.
That offensive followed two years of negotiations with Kony that collapsed when he refused to sign a final peace agreement to end more than two decades of civil war.
Tens of thousands of people have died and a large swathe of central Africa has been destabilised by the marauding LRA guerrillas who are notorious for slicing off body parts and abducting children to serve as porters, soldiers and sex slaves.
Pic: LRA member