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Uganda President Says Army Will Pursue Rebels in Congo


Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni says his troops will pursue members of the Ugandan rebel group, the Lord's Resistance Army, into neighboring Congo-Kinshasa if the rebels use it as a base to launch attacks in Uganda. VOA Correspondent Alisha Ryu reports from the East Africa Summit in Nairobi.

The Ugandan army says it has received credible reports, indicating that the elusive leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, Joseph Kony, has moved his group from hideouts in southern Sudan to a new sanctuary in northeastern Congo-Kinshasa.

It is believed that Kony went there to link up with his long-serving deputy, Vicent Otti, who has been seen inside Congo's vast Garamba National Park.

The Lord's Resistance Army is listed as a terrorist organization by a number of countries, including the United States.

Speaking at a regional summit in Nairobi, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni urged the United Nations and governments in Khartoum, southern Sudan, and Congo Kinshasa to work together in wiping out the Lord's Resistance Army once and for all.

"Where possible, cooperation among our countries can provide solutions," he said. "The cooperation between the government of Sudan, the SPLM and Uganda on the issue of a terrorist group led by Joseph Kony for the last three years is a good example. This cooperation has resulted in the great diminishing of this group and their uprooting from northern Uganda and southern Sudan. Remnants of them have now fled to the Garamba National Park of Congo-Kinshasa. This area is under the control of the United Nations and the Kinshasa government. We should use the same cooperation to decimate this group."

The Lord's Resistance Army began its rebellion in 1988, ostensibly to establish a religious society in Uganda.

But during nearly two decades of fighting, the rebels were better known for promoting extreme brutality, including kidnapping and forcing thousands of children to become soldiers and sex slaves. The rebels also terrorized civilians in northern Uganda, forcing nearly two million people from their homes.

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni says its troops have been able to kill, capture, or disarm most of the rebels, leaving only about 120 hardcore fighters.

But on Sunday, the Ugandan leader told a state-owned newspaper that the rebels remain a threat to national security and said that he would send in troops to go after them in Congo-Kinshasa, with or without the country's permission.

The government in Kampala has long maintained that eastern Congo is a haven for rebel groups, who pose a threat to Uganda's security. A similar reason was used to justify the support of Congolese rebels and the deployment of Ugandan troops in eastern Congo during the central African country's recent five-year-long civil war.

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