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56 LRA surrender to S. Sudan army, says SPLA spokesman.

By Manyang Mayom November 12, 2009 (RUMBEK) -- Fifty-six fighters of the Ugandan Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) have surrendered to the Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA), according to SPLA spokesman Maj-Gen. Kuol Diem Kuol. First a small group of five LRA rebels surrendered, later followed by a larger group composed of 41 people. Most of the surrenders took place in Western Equatoria State, said Maj-Gen. Kuol. The news follows a spate of other LRA surrenders across a vast frontierless region -- from south of Garamba National Park in DR Congo to the Central African Republic -- where the scattered LRA is being pursued. Provoked by an internationally coordinated attack on their bases in December 2008, LRA this year carried out massacres and displaced tens of thousands in north-eastern Uganda and Sudan. LRA fighters, operating in small groups, infiltrated Western Equatoria State, foraging for food and forcibly abducting new recruits. The state has a lighter SPLA presence than other areas of South Sudan, so militias called "arrow boys" rose to meet the threat. According to Kuol Diem Kuol, the state has recently seen a decrease in LRA activities. However, Kuol said the Ugandan rebels are reorganizing their forces in the border areas between South Darfur, Western Bahr-El-Ghazal State as well as in the Central African Republic. Kuol noted that whenever LRA rebel fighters surrender themselves to SPLA in Yambio, they are transported to a SPLA barracks in Yei, from whence a Kenyan bus transports them surely to Uganda. A few of LRA are being airlifted by plane to Uganda, he added. The Ugandan army are receiving them in their country, where typically they are rehabilitated and then sent home or integrated into the army. Kuol concluded that "they are now enjoying themselves in Acholi village land with their relatives from whom they have been separated for a long time." MOYO DISTRICT INCIDENT Kuol dismissed recent reports that there was a cross-border incident in Moyo District, calling the report an "unhealthy rumour which was being created by the Khartoum Government to destroy our relationship with the Ugandan government and international world opinion." "There is no such attack we did in Moyo district -- we crosschecked the story and actually we found nothing done by SPLA in Moyo district," he affirmed. The Ugandan daily Monitor had reported that SPLA soldiers pursued across the border a Ugandan man who was supposedly carrying out research on chimpanzees in the area. The SPLA soldiers believed that he was a spy and searched for him in Gmberi village, the Monitor reported. A Khartoum newspaper, the Arabic Al-Intibaha, subsequently carried a report of an SPLA incursion in the area. Kuol called the story "a rumor that came up" in Al-intibaha. "It is a mad person in Intibaha newspaper spreading this story. We never made any attack there -- how can we attack our friendly sisterly country?" (ST)

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Publication:Sudan Tribune (Sudan)
Date:Nov 15, 2009
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