A Ugandan official says rebels have kidnapped at least 40 people in a raid in the north of the country.

The council chairman of Gulu town, Walter Ochola, says rebels from the Lord's Resistance Army (L-R-A)later released about 20 of the people.

There are conflicting reports about whether the raid took place Tuesday or on Monday.

It was the latest attack in the L-R-A's stepped-up campaign in the north of the country.

Earlier this month, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni agreed in principle to peace talks with the rebels, reversing a long-standing refusal to negotiate. The government launched attacks against rebel bases in Sudan in March.

The L-R-A has been fighting since 1987 to overthrow the Ugandan government and replace it with one based on the Bible's Ten Commandments.