News / Africa

Uganda Battles Central Africa Republic's Seleka Rebels

Seleka fighters stand in their base before a mission in the town of Lioto, Central African Republic, June 9, 2014.
Seleka fighters stand in their base before a mission in the town of Lioto, Central African Republic, June 9, 2014.
Reuters

Uganda said on Tuesday its forces in Central African Republic (C.A.R.) had clashed for the first time with fighters from Seleka, a mainly Muslim rebel force, killing 12, and would pursue them as part of a campaign against the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA).

“Seleka had never tasted our fire, I think it was important that they taste our fire so that they are careful - they are in bed with LRA and we shall treat them as such,” Paddy Ankunda, spokesman for Uganda People's Defense Forces (UPDF) said.

The LRA, led by Joseph Kony, is using C.A.R. as one of its rear bases for attacks across a thickly forested region straddling CAR, South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
 
Uganda is leading a 5,000-strong African Union regional force hunting down the rebels, widely known for their brutality, but has no specific mandate to confront Seleka.

Ankunda accused Seleka of forcing civilians to give food and medicine to the LRA and facilitating the group by trading ivory and minerals with them. That gave UPDF the justification to target Seleka, he said.

“We know we don't have that mandate but since they are in bed with our enemy we'll treat them as such,” he said.

LRA, which fought the Ugandan government for nearly two decades from the country's north, is known for its ruthlessness, including mass abduction of boys and girls, hacking limbs off victims and raping them.

Ankunda said Seleka had attacked their positions on Sunday and Monday.

“Seleka attacked our forces... we punished them very severely,” he said, adding that 12 Seleka fighters, including a Colonel, had been killed by the UPDF while a Captain was captured.

One UPDF fighter died after sustaining injuries in the fight, he said.

A senior Seleka official on Monday told Reuters, 15 of their fighters and three UPDF soldiers were killed in the clash.

Seleka, a coalition of mainly Muslim rebels from northern CAR, seized power last year, but its time in Bangui, the capital, was marked by rights abuses, prompting mainly Christian self-defense militia to spring up across the country.

Nearly a million people - about a quarter of the population - have been forced from their homes in cycles of violence.

Seleka leaders stepped aside earlier this year under intense international pressure, but tit-for-tat killings continue, and the former rebels still occupy pockets of the country, mainly to the north of Bangui.

 

You May Like

UN Fears Rights Violations in China-backed Projects

UNHCHR investigates link between financing development and ignoring safeguards for human rights More

Boko Haram Violence Tests Nigerians’ Faith in Buhari

New president has promised to stem insurgency; he’s scheduled to meet with President Obama at White House July 20 More

Social Media Network Wants Privacy in User’s Hands

Encryption's popularity in messaging is exploding; now it's the foundation of a new social network More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugeesi
X
Carolyn Weaver
July 06, 2015 6:47 PM
In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Making Music, Fleeing Bombs: New Film on Sudan’s Internal Refugees

In 2012, Sudanese filmmaker Hajooj Kuka went to make a documentary among civil war refugees in Sudan’s Blue Nile and Nuba Mountains region. What he found surprised him: music was helping to save people from bombing raids by their own government. VOA’s Carolyn Weaver has more.
Video

Video Rice Farmers Frustrated As Drought Grips Thailand

A severe drought in Thailand is limiting the growing season of the country’s important rice crop. Farmers are blaming the government for not doing more to protect a key export. Steve Sandford reports from Chiang Mai, Thailand.
Video

Video 'From This Day Forward' Reveals Difficult Journey of Transgender Parent

In her documentary, "From This Day Forward", filmmaker Sharon Shattuck reveals the personal journey of her transgender father, as he told his family that he always felt he was a woman inside and decided to live as one. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Floodwaters Threaten Iconic American Home

The Farnsworth House in the Midwest State of Illinois is one of the most iconic homes in America. Thousands of tourists visit the site every year. Its location near a river inspired the design of the house, but, as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, that very location is now threatening the existence of this National Historic Landmark.
Video

Video Olympics Construction Scars Sacred Korean Mountain

Environmentalists in South Korea are protesting a Winter Olympics construction project to build a ski slope through a 500-year-old protected forest. Brian Padden reports that although there is strong national support for hosting the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, there are growing public concerns over the costs and possible ecological damage at the revered mountain.
Video

Video Xenophobia Victims in South Africa Flee Violence, Then Return

Many Malawians fled South Africa early this year after xenophobic attacks on African immigrants. But many quickly found life was no better at home and have returned to South Africa – often illegally and without jobs, and facing the tough task of having to start over. Lameck Masina and Anita Powell file from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.

VOA Blogs