US backed failed raid on LRA rebels
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The US military helped the Ugandan government finance and plan an attack on a rebel group that went awry in Congo, with fighters from Uganda's Lord's Resistance Army killing up to 900 civilians as they fled, The New York Times reports.
Reuters - The U.S. military helped plan and finance a recent attack on a Ugandan rebel group which went awry, with fleeing fighters conducting a series of massacres that killed up to 900 civilians, The New York Times reported on Saturday.
The Uganda-led operation targeted the brutal rebel group called Lord's Resistance Army, which had been hiding in a Congolese national park. The rebel leaders escaped and small group of fighters rampaged through towns in northeastern Congo, hacking, burning, shooting and clubbing civilians to death, the newspaper said.
The U.S. involvement was its first helping plan such a specific military offensive with Uganda, the Times said, citing senior U.S. military officials. The officials said a team of 17 advisers and analysts from the Pentagon's new Africa Command worked with Ugandan officers, providing satellite phones, intelligence and $1 million in fuel.
No U.S. forces were involved in ground fighting, the Times said, adding that human rights advocates and villagers said the Ugandan and Congolese troops did little to protect villagers from the attackers.
"We provided insights and alternatives for them to consider, but their choices were their choices," the newspaper quoted a U.S. military official who was briefed on the operation as saying, in reference to the African ground forces. "In the end, it was not our operation," the U.S. official said.
A Ugandan military spokesman declined to discuss the U.S. involvement, saying only "There was no way to prevent these massacres."
The rebel group remains at large, moving through villages, torch them and killing civilians, the Times said. Witnesses said they have also kidnapped hundreds of children to enslave them into their forces, it said.