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Uganda Claims 50 Rebel Deaths

May 6, 2002

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KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) _ The army has killed around 50 Ugandan rebels based in neighboring southern Sudan during two days of fighting, an army spokesman said Sunday.

Maj. Shaban Bantariza said the rebels were killed near the Sudanese village of Katire, about 37 miles north of the Ugandan border, and fighting continued in the area.

Five government soldiers have been injured in the clashes, he said. The information could not be independently confirmed.

Ugandan troops began rooting out the rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, in southern Sudan after the Sudanese government allowed them to enter the country in March.

The rebels had fled into the Ngong and Acholi mountains, 25 miles inside southern Sudan, but groups of the insurgents are now moving further north, Bantariza said.

``The pursuit of the LRA is going on,″ Bantariza told The Associated Press. ``We have killed these rebels. Their bodies are being picked from the bushes by our soldiers. We are counting them one by one and the number has now reached 50.″

Little is known about the LRA, a shadowy group that wants to replace Uganda’s constitution with the Ten Commandments.

Sudan had been arming and giving sanctuary to the LRA as it caused havoc in northern Uganda, killing thousands and forcing hundreds of thousands more to flee into protected camps.

Sudan’s Islamic government had accused President Yoweri Museveni’s government of supporting Sudanese rebels in southern Sudan, including Christians, who have been fighting for autonomy since 1983.

But after a series of contacts in foreign capitals, leaders of the two states signed a treaty in 1999. Both governments agreed to desist from supporting each other’s rebels.

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