LRA Denies Massacre Claims as MONUC Send in Military Support

939 Views Kampala, Uganda
The United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) has declared that it now taking decisive steps to protect and assist civilians under threat of attack from the Lord's Resistance Army (L-R-A). A press release from MONUC says the action follows attacks by the LRA on civilian populations in many territories of Haut Uele district in northeastern DRC since December 25th. MONUC says it will do everything in its power to continue to protect civilians by bringing substantial support to the DRC Armed Forces. Yesterday (Tuesday) Leila Zerrougui, Deputy Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in the DRC, met ith the DRC's National Security Board, to assess the Government's needs in this area. She told them about MONUC's determination to support the Congo Government's efforts to resolve the situation. At the military level, MONUC has already airlifted Congolese military troops to the operational zones. 96 Congo army troops have been deployed from Dungu to Faradje towns which were attacked by the LRA last week. MONUC is providing logistic support in terms of food stuffs, water, medicines, sanitation and fuel to the Congolese armed forces. It also plans to assist in protecting the civilian population against any possible direct LRA threat. Reports in local and international media say more than 400 Congolese nationals were massacred by the LRA on the day after Christmas. But the LRA chief peace negotiator David Matsanga denies this. In interview with the Voice of America, Matsanga claims the killings were carried out by a special battalion of the Uganda Peoples Defence Force (UPDF). According to Matsanga, the 105th battalion of the UPDF, composed of ex-LRA combatants who defected since 2004, were trained to attack the LRA. He says the South Sudan Vice President Riek Machar is aware of this plot. Matsanga says he was assured by the LRA leader Joseph Kony that his forces were not responsible for the killings. He calls on the Ugandan government to return to the peace table rather than the military option.