4 500+ flee rebels in CAR

2009-10-23 09:38

Libreville - More than 4 500 people have fled attacks by the Ugandan rebel group Lord's Resistance Army in the Central African Republic, the Red Cross said in a statement on Thursday.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) violence in the south-east of the CAR had led thousands to make for the town of Obo.

"Over recent months, the lack of security in the area around Obo and M'Boki, in the Upper Mbomou prefecture, have prompted the movement of a large part of the population towards the town of Obo," the statement said.

"There are more than 4 500 internally displaced people and 1 400 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo," which neighbours CAR and where the LRA has rear bases, according to the ICRC and Centrafrican Red Cross.

"Most of the medical centres in the villages around Obo and M'Boki have been looted and sometimes destroyed in recent months."

Led by Joseph Kony, the brutal LRA began its activities in Uganda in 1988, and in 2005 its fighters moved to bases in the far north-east of Congo.

LRA attacks in the eastern part of the CAR have increased in recent months.

In August the Ugandan army was deployed in the CAR, with Bangui's approval, and month said it had captured one of Kony's top bodyguards.

The ICRC statement came as African leaders met in the Ugandan capital Kampala for a summit to improve the plight of the continent's refugees and displaced people.