Rebels murder British tourist in Uganda park

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Gunmen from the Lord's Resistance Army shot dead a British tourist yesterday in an ambush in the north of the country. According to the Foreign Office, the man had gone to help a group of tourists whose vessel capsized in the Murchison Falls national park in north-east Uganda.

The tourists had been rafting from Egypt to the source of the Nile, a Foreign Office spokes-woman said. After the rescue, the Briton and the rescued tourists - including Britons and New Zealanders - were travelling by car when they were ambushed and the man was shot.

The Foreign Office had no further information about the incident, but said the man's family was being informed of his death.

Yesterday's killing followed a similar attack by suspected LRA rebels on Saturday, when a British aid worker was shot dead in an ambush in neighbouring southern Sudan. The LRA has waged a 19-year war against the Ugandan government, and last month began targeting foreigners - apparently in reprisal for arrest warrants issued for their leaders by the International Criminal Court.

Lt Chris Magezi, an army spokesman in northern Uganda, told Reuters: "This afternoon in Murchison Falls park, two LRA rebels killed a UK citizen." He said a New Zealander and a Ugandan were also abducted by the rebels, but were later rescued by troops. Lt Magezi said three other tourists - including another New Zealander and two other Britons - had fled into the bush but were later found uninjured by Ugandan soldiers.

He said a group had set out from Murchison's upmarket Paraa Safari Lodge to help whitewater rafters who had had an accident on the Nile, which runs through the park. As they returned to the lodge, he said, they ran into the rebels, who sprayed their car with bullets.

"Our troops are in hot pursuit of rebels. The lieutenant in charge of that area has been arrested for failing to provide security on the road," Lt Magezi said. In late October, two local aid workers were shot in northern Uganda, then an Iraqi and a Sudanese working for a Swiss-based mine-clearing agency were killed in an ambush on their convoy in southern Sudan where the LRA has bases.

The rebels have appeared to change tactics in response to a statement by the ICC on 14 October, which said it had issued its first arrest warrants for the LRA leadership. Led by a self-styled mystic, Joseph Kony, the LRA insurgency has uprooted more than 1.6 million people in northern Uganda and triggered one of the world's worst humanitarian emergencies.

The cult-like group has never given a clear account of its political aims, but it is notorious for massacring civilians, mutilating survivors and kidnapping more than 20,000 children who are forced to serve as fighters, porters and sex slaves.

The Foreign Office had already warned on Monday that the LRA may now be targeting "white people", referring to a hand-written letter apparently written by the LRA and passed to locals last month.