In a message dated 9/14/99 4:21:36 PM Eastern Daylight Time, Matekopoko@AOL.COM writes:
Uganda leader says army killed warriors in clashes
Reuters, 14 September 1999
KAMPALA, Sept 14 (Reuters) - President Yoweri Museveni acknowleged on Tuesday his troops had opened fire on and killed a significant number of tribal warriors in an effort to stop ethnic clashes in eastern Uganda last week.
The army said on Monday that up to 400 people had died in three days of ethnic fighting between pastoralist communities, and said it was forced to step in to quell the clashes.
But the independent Monitor newspaper said survivors blamed 300 of the deaths on indiscriminate firing on the area by the army from helicopter gunships.
"It is true we killed quite a bit of those people, but they were armed warriors," Museveni told a news conference. "I don't know how many they killed but they were warriors."
An army source told Reuters about 100 people had been killed by government soldiers.
The clashes began when Bakora ethnic warriors from the Karimojong group attacked the rival Matheniko group from the same Karimojong tribe last Thursday in the Kalosarich area, some 250 km (150 miles) east of the capital Kampala.
Museveni said the initial raid came in revenge for a similar attack last month. The army earlier said at least 40 people died in the August raid, but one aid group said around 160 were now known to have died.
Museveni said the army had moved in with helicopters and armoured vehicles to end the fighting.
He also said the army had launched a separate operation against a different Karimojong community on September 9 after warriors ambushed a military convoy in July, stealing weapons and ammunition. He said 26 of the "ringleaders" had been arrested and a lot of arms and 250 cows recovered.
"We are continuing the operation," he said.
Cattle rustling is common in the remote area where the fighting took place.
It is made more violent by the availability of assault rifles, which came into circulation after the overthrow of dictator Idi Amin in 1979 and are also available as a result of a long-running civil war in neighbouring Sudan.