The Ugandan military is in a buoyant mood right now, believing it has the upper hand in the war against the rebel group, the Lord’s Resistance Army. Military officials are even predicting the war might end within a year.
Wednesday, the military announced the outcome of an attack against 35 rebels in which 20 were killed. The attack took place in Pader District, 380 kilometers north of Uganda’s capital, Kampala. Pader District is one of the three areas hardest hit in the civil war. The violence has forced one and a half million people to flee their homes. Most now live in camps guarded by the military.
Major Felix Kulayigye is a spokesman for the army. English to Africa’s Ruby Ofori asked him to give a broad picture of how the war is going.
He says, “The broad picture of the war right now is that it is on the descending trend. We have small groups (of rebels) of three to five, maximum ten that are trying to avoid detection. True, we have a bigger group with (LRA leader Joseph) Koney in southern Sudan of about 100 or 120. Then you have another group…in the Democratic Republic of Congo. But overall, the picture in northern Uganda is that the Lord’s Resistance Army can no longer commit crimes, can no longer abduct, can no longer block roads, can longer lay landmines. So, we are looking at the situation where areas…in north and northeastern Uganda the population is now leaving the internally displaced peoples camp to go back to their homes. And have hope that very soon, the rest of Pader, Kitgum and Gulu (districts) will start going home soon.”
Major Kulayigye says the LRA no longer has any support and he says he believes the war in the north, which has lasted some 20 years, could end within one year.