Rebel leader quits Sudan

2010-04-02 17:34

Kampala - The leader of Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels has left western Sudan and crossed back into the Central African Republic (CAR) due to food shortages, Uganda's army said on Friday.

The Ugandan rebel group - notorious for chopping off limbs and lips and recruiting children - has moved around remote parts of central Africa since a 2008 offensive ousted them from bases in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Guerrilla leader and wanted war crimes suspect Joseph Kony was believed to be in the Darfur region of Sudan.

Sudan's leader Omar Hassan al-Bashir is wanted by the same war crimes tribunal and analysts said his government has supported the Ugandan group for years, an allegation it denies.

"Kony and his men crossed early this week from Darfur back to CAR. He failed to find food in Darfur and was faced with starvation," Uganda's military spokesperson Felix Kulayigye said.

"They also failed to find any forest cover in Darfur and they were exposed to danger."

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni said in March that Ugandan forces believed Kony had crossed into the Darfur region. Since the offensive against LRA rebels, the guerrillas have continued killing and other violence.

A Washington-based anti-genocide group, Enough Project, said there was a "possibility of rekindled collaboration between LRA leader Joseph Kony and Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir".

Khartoum angrily dismissed the allegation.

More than ten thousand people were killed in the two-decade civil war in Uganda's north, and thousands more died after the guerrillas were pushed into south Sudan and the Congo.