Uganda says UN peacekeepers not to act against rebels

Ugandan President accused U.N. peacekeepers of inactivity after the U.N. humanitarian chief criticised a military offensive against Uganda's LRA rebels.

Uganda says UN peacekeepers not to act against rebels

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said U.N. peacekeepers did not act against Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels.

U.N. Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes said on Monday the Uganda-led attack that began in December in remote northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo had brought "catastrophic" consequences for civilians in the area.

Museveni rejected that and blamed the United Nations.

"The disaster is that the U.N. force was sitting for three years in Congo living side-by-side with the (LRA)," the Ugandan president told a news conference in the capital Kampala.

"That U.N. character ... I will deal with him later."

LRA fighters have killed nearly 900 people in reprisal attacks in northeastern Congo since Ugandan troops launched a military operation against fugitive rebel leader Joseph Kony.

Critics say the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Congo has done little to protect civilians from rebel vengeance.

"It is true that the humanitarian consequences have been catastrophic," Holmes told reporters in Congo on Monday.

"I think they need to see the operation through. I don't know how long that will take ... but I think there is no point in putting a premature end to it," he said.

Kony has waged a two-decade war against Museveni's government. The conflict has killed thousands of people and destabilised a large tract of central Africa.

The self-proclaimed mystic is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes such as abducting children to fight in his ranks. Talks between Kony and Kampala broke down in April after the LRA chief failed to sign a final peace deal.

Museveni said Ugandan troops had killed at least 40 rebels and rescued some 280 abductees since the operation began. No independent confirmation could immediately be made.

Reuters
Last Mod: 10 Şubat 2009, 17:51
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