A group of North Ugandan rebels of the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) attacked the town of Duru, a few dozen kilometres from the border with South Sudan, looting the local Comboni mission, hospital and the house of the sisters and briefly holding hostage an Italian priest. The episode was referred today to MISNA by Father Fermo Bernasconi, provincial superior of the Combonis in the Democratic Republic of Congo, specifying that the attack occurred on December 16 but was reported late due to difficult communications with Duru. “The LRA rebels looted our mission, taking away everything they could carry, stealing and throwing in the river our only two radios. They also took one of our confreres, who was later released, threatening that they would return”, specified Father Bernasconi. “The real problem is the civil population. Though I can’t say exactly how many, I was told that thousands of terrified people fled Duru and surrounding villages, seeking refuge in the forest”, added the missionary. According to Fr. Bernasconi, the LRA attack in Duru was unprecedented: since the Ugandan rebels arrived in Congolese territory around two years ago, settling in the Garamba natural park, no actions against the civil population were reported.
local sources contacted by MISNA explained that peacekeepers of the United Nations Mission in DR-Congo (MONUC) stepped up pressures on the rebels, setting up bases in Dungu, around 90km from Duru, from where they began repatriating some groups of rebels. The governments of Kinshasa and Kampala two weeks ago gave an ultimatum to the LRA founder and leader Joseph Kony to leave the Garamba park by January 31 or be forced out. A warning to which Kony responded strongly over the weekend, accusing President Yoweri Museveni of jeopardising the negotiations between the government and rebels hosted in Juba, South Sudan, due to resume at the start of January and lead to the signing of ‘a global peace accord’
Reported by MISNA