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Thousands Flee Hit & Run Rebel Raids In Northern Uganda - 2004-04-23

In northern Uganda, twenty-five hit-and-run raids by rebels in recent weeks have caused thousands of people to flee their villages or refugee camps. The raids, reportedly by small bands of the Lord?s Resistance Army, have occurred in the Adjumani and Moyo districts.

Peter Kessler is a spokesman for the UN refugee agency, the UNHCR, which cares for more than 170-thousand Sudanese refugees in northern Uganda. From Geneva, he spoke to English to Africa Joe De Capua about the attacks. He says one of the raids occurred only about five kilometers from the UNHCR?s field office in Pakelle town.

So far, he says, no one has been hurt in the raids, although some are being forced to carry food and medicine into the bush for the rebels. All eventually have been released.

The Ugandan army is said to have sent a second battalion of troops into the area to try to bolster security.

The disruption comes during the planting season. If the refugees and others are too afraid to return, it could cause some food shortages later one.

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