DR Congo: Offensive against LRA rebels - Troop movements, patchy reports
Date: 22 Dec 2008 - via ReliefWeb:
Troop movements, a dozen Ugandan cargo planes landed in the past 36 hours in Dungu, a group of 350 Ugandan soldiers moving in the forest indicated by local MISNA sources, local press reports refer of sequester of war material: nine days from the start of the joint military offensive launched by the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and South Sudan against bases of the LRA (Lord's Resistance Army) North Ugandan rebels in the Eastern Province of DR-Congo, reports on what is actually taking place are patchy and independent confirmation lacking.
According to a Ugandan army spokesman, no dead or injured have been found since the bombings of the past days, the rebels are fleeing in the forest of Park Garamba and war material has been sequestered, including documents signed by Joseph Kony, the rebel leader.
No independent sources are however able to confirm and local MISNA sources only indicate significant troop and air movements in a vast and scarcely populated zone.
According to the army spokesman, without food supplies and a base to operate from Kony and his men are at large in the forest; he also confirmed the surrender of two rebels and release of eight people held by the LRA.
The bombing of the LRA bases caused concerns for the hundreds of civilians apparently kidnapped by the LRA.
On the diplomatic front, the LRA chief negotiator in talks with Kampala, David Nyekorach Matsanga, called for an end to hostilities "to give new concrete possibilities" to the signing of an accord.
Matsanga also called for a new UN mediator in place of Riek Machar, as also a change of venue to Tanzania or South Africa.