Humanitarian agencies say the rebel war in northern Uganda is threatening to plunge about half a million people into a severe food crisis. UN officials say the latest attacks by the rebel Lord?s Resistance Army, LRA, will hurt the farming season in December and January, and many people may go hungry in the coming months.

Ugandan army spokesman Major Shaban Bantariza says that the rebels responsible for attacks in the north are terrorists and are responsible for the food crisis because people have moved out of the food growing areas to flee the fighting. But he said the food shortage is not as serious as UN officials are saying it is.

Major Bantariza said the situation is under control and, sooner rather than later, there will be peace in areas where the rebels are operating. He said contrary to reports, the rebels are not gaining an upper hand in the fighting. He said if indeed the rebels were winning the war they would have been able to attack military targets, but they have not.

From Kampala, the army spokesman talked Richard Kotey about the difficulties in fighting the LURD rebels.