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ICC NOTE: An SPLA spokesman blamed opponents of Sudan ’s 2005 north-south peace deal for the attack.

Ugandan driver, SPLA officer killed in Sudan ambush

Sudan Tribune

8 January 2007

( JUBA ) — A Ugandan driver and an officer from the Sudan People’s Liberation Army were killed and 10 people wounded in a road ambush on Sunday near the south Sudan capital of Juba , witnesses and the SPLA said on Monday.

An SPLA spokesman blamed opponents of Sudan ’s 2005 north-south peace deal for the attack on the Ugandan trade convoy in which two vehicles were burned and others shot at. The north-south peace deal ended Africa ’s longest-running civil war.

“The attackers were anti-Comprehensive Peace Agreement elements … I believe these are elements sponsored by the Sudan Armed Forces,” spokesman Kuol Diem Kuol said.

A Sudanese army spokesman in Khartoum denied any government involvement: “We don’t support any militias. It is not to our benefit. Why would we do this?”

A Ugandan merchant who survived the assault said the convoy was attacked by gunmen wearing military-style fatigues, though their identity was not clear.

“Two were killed in the first vehicle,” said Patrick Lugero from Kangulmira in Uganda , who was travelling to Juba to sell pineapples and tomatoes.

“I was in the third car. I saw the attack on the car in front of me and then they began shooting at us into the car. They were close. I could see their faces. I jumped from the car and into the bush.”

Lugero, recuperating from shock in the Juba Teaching Hospital’s emergency ward, said he and his colleagues walked about 6 kilometres (4 miles) towards Juba before meeting SPLA soldiers who helped them.

The driver of Lugero’s vehicle was recovering from gunshot wounds to his leg. Another Ugandan driver, Silva Attitu, was in hospital with three bullets in his right arm.

The attack was the third road ambush in south Sudan this year. The SPLA said it believed the attackers behind Sunday’s ambush aimed to disrupt celebrations marking the second anniversary of Sudan ’s north-south peace deal.

Last week an ambush in the region killed six people and wounded 10. An SPLA officer said that attack was probably carried out by the Lord’s Resistance Army, a Ugandan rebel group that has been operating from south Sudan for years but recently started peace talks with the Ugandan government.