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DR Congo troops prepare to move in on Ugandan rebels

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XINHUA - June 19, 2008

DR Congo troops prepare to move in on Ugandan rebels
LRA leader Joseph Kony ©Joram Jojo
KINSHASA, June 19 (Xinhua) -- The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) will very soon launch a new operation to track down and expel elements of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), a Ugandan rebel group, from the east of the country, according to official sources.

    Addressing reporters Wednesday in Kisangani in the northeastern Orientale province, Gen. Kifua, who is the commander of the ninth DRC Military Region, said plans were at an advanced stage to start hunting down the LRA rebels and dislodge them from the DRC territory.

    During the press briefing, Gen. Kifua, whose statement was also widely published in local media, was quoted as saying that "the forthcoming operation would be conducted by the DRC army in collaboration with the Ugandan and Sudanese authorities."

    "A team to plan and coordinate the long-awaited operation has already been set up in Kisangani to serve as the nerve-center for exchanging information with the Ugandan and Sudanese authorities," said the general, adding that the operation which is expected to improve the security situation in the region was long overdue.

    Based in the Garamba National Park which is located on the common border with Sudan, the LRA rebels have been implicated in conducting massacres against animals in this world heritage site and their activities have also led to the displacement of over 5,000 people in the province, according to official sources.

    The LRA, which has been waging a guerilla war against the Ugandan government of President Yoweri Museveni, is particularly active in the areas of Kukudu, Nakale and Walibi in the Dungu, Haut Uele district in the restive Orientale province.

    The activities of the rebels, similar to those of the Democratic Forces for the Liberation of Rwanda, have on numerous occasions forced Ugandan troops to launch raids in an attempt to prevent them from launching attacks against civilian populations in the northern parts of Uganda.

    Over the last few months, the rebels who recently broke down negotiations with the Ugandan government, have been implicated in a series of attacks across the sub-region.

    They were also notably implicated in a devastating attack against civilians in the Central African Republic and another one targeted at a southern Sudanese soldier camp near the border with the DRC.

    Their unrelenting activities have forced governments across the Great Lakes region and parts of the Horn of Africa to come together to launch what has been described as the "final operation" against them.

    However, both military and political analysts have pointed out that the success of such an undertaking is very doubtful owing to the fact that the group primarily employs guerilla tactics, launching attacks when least expected. Its bases are located in remote areas where conventional troops will have difficulties to access. 


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