- - Wednesday, May 25, 2011

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO

Ugandan rebels continue central Africa attacks

DUNGU | A coalition of nearly 40 human rights groups this week called on the United States to step up efforts to fight against a brutal Ugandan-led rebel group that has intensified its attacks in central Africa, especially in Congo’s volatile northeast.

The groups, which include New York-based Human Rights Watch, said in a statement that the White House should appoint a special envoy for the African Great Lakes region.

That envoy, they said, should have a mandate that extends to areas where the Lord's Resistance Army is most active, “to support stronger United Nations peacekeeping and to intensify efforts to arrest” LRA leaders sought by the International Criminal Court.

Last May, the Obama administration signed into law an act that commits the United States to helping civilians threatened by the LRA.

The LRA, which originated in Uganda, is known for viciously attacking and torturing civilians and for abducting children and forcing them to fight for the rebels.

Since 2008, the LRA has killed nearly 2,400 civilians and abducted about 3,400 others.

SUDAN

190 troops killed, missing in Abyei attack

JUBA | Seventy northern Sudanese troops were killed and more than 120 are missing from an attack last week by southern Sudanese forces near the disputed region of Abyei, a Sudanese diplomat said.

The death toll, if verified, would mark one of the bloodiest clashes since the end of Sudan’s civil war. A U.N. spokesman said he believed the casualty numbers were much smaller.

The south voted to secede from Sudan earlier this year, but the future of the 4,000-square-mile Abyei region near the north-south border was left in doubt.

The fighting that began last Thursday threatens to unravel a 2005 peace deal and reignite a civil war that left more than 2 million people dead.

According to the United Nations, southern troops started the clash last week by attacking a column of northern troops and U.N. peacekeepers who were moving away from Abyei.

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