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Uganda Rebel Spokesman Condemns Reported Attack on LRA Camp

A spokesman for Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels has said that if reports of an attack on LRA positions are true, it would be disastrous for the peace process and the people of northern Uganda.

Reports Sunday quoted three central African governments – Uganda, Southern Sudan, and the Democratic Republic of Congo - as saying their armies launched a joint offensive against an LRA base in the Garamba forests of eastern Congo.

The three countries said in a joint statement that their forces destroyed the main camp of LRA leader Joseph Kony and set it on fire. There was no immediate word on Kony's fate.

David Nyekorach Matsanga, chief peace negotiator for the LRA, told VOA that Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni was using an attack against the LRA as a pretext to invade eastern Congo for that country's resources.

"First of all the action, if it is true and if it is confirmed, it is the most regrettable action that humanity in this region will have. We have negotiated an agreement, we had negotiated peace for the last two years, and it is regrettable that the government of the Republic of Uganda has decided to make a military attack on the LRA, if it is confirmed. I want to make it clear that I have not received official confirmation from General Joseph Kony of this attack. But when it unfolds tomorrow and I received instruction from General Joseph Kony, then I will make an official statement," he said.

Matsanga rejected suggestions that the LRA was responsible for the alleged attack for its repeated failure to sign a final peace agreement the rebel group and the Ugandan government.

Instead Matsanga said the nearly four years peace process has brought some stability to northern Uganda.

"You should understand that we have got gains out of these three and the half years of negotiations. There was relative peace in northern Uganda. And now if Museveni decides to attack the LRA without any consultation while he is talking to us, it is very regrettable. The world must condemn it," Matsanga said.

He accused Uganda of using an attack on the LRA as a pretext to invade the Democratic Republic of Congo with the intention to loot that country's resources.

"We condemned this action of a few military people in the government of Uganda who are using this as a pretext to invade Congo. They have now taking their positions in Congo to loot the minerals, to loot the diamonds, to loot the timber, and everything in Congo. But that attack has taken place, the consequences are going to very dear, and the world is going to regret why this has taken place and they watched it," he said.

When pressed furthe3r to give evidence that Uganda has been wanting to invade the DRC to loot that country's resources, Matsanga would only say that the LRA has its own intelligence network deep inside Uganda.

Matsanga also said he called South Sudan Vice President Riek Machar, who is also the mediator of the peace process between the LRA and the Ugandan government to warn him that if the reported attack were true, it would be an escalation of the war.

He would not say whether Joseph Kony would retaliate if the reports of an attack on his camp were true. But Matsanga said the LRA was interested in peace.

"I cannot discuss the military strength of General Joseph Kony. It is only he as a military spokes of the LRA that can discuss the modalities. Let me make it very clear negotiations are not weaknesses. Being on the peace table does not mean the LRA is weak. But if the Museveni government has taken that root, we will wait and see the consequences that will unfold in the region," Matsanga said.

He said those who think an attack against the LRA in Congo would be a quick walkover might live to regret their actions.