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Cablegate: Uganda: Adf Clash with Updf Near Tourist Lodge

VZCZCXYZ0004
RR RUEHWEB

DE RUEHKM #0637 1070628
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
R 170628Z APR 07
FM AMEMBASSY KAMPALA
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 8597
RUEHXR/RWANDA COLLECTIVE

UNCLAS KAMPALA 000637

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

SENSITIVE

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: CASC MOPS PINR UG

SUBJECT: UGANDA: ADF CLASH WITH UPDF NEAR TOURIST LODGE

1. (SBU) Summary: The Uganda People's Defense Force (UPDF) and the
rebel Allied Democratic Front (ADF) continue to clash in western
Uganda. American citizens in the region have been warned to avoid
traveling in the Bundidugyo District and the popular Semliki Safari
Lodge has closed for two weeks due to the conflict. End Summary.

2. (SBU) On April 13, the UPDF engaged in an intense, but short
firefight with ADF rebels approximately two kilometers from the
Semliki Safari Lodge in the Bundidugyo District in western Uganda.
This engagement was a continuation of the UPDF's three-week old
campaign to root out a group of approximately 80 ADF that entered
Western Uganda between March 23-25 and others that may have
infiltrated in 2006. The number of ADF rebels killed in the recent
conflict continues to grow with at least 65 ADF rebels killed in the
region since the offensive began.

3. (SBU) Post's consular section sent its second warden message in
two-weeks concerning ADF rebel activities in the region. A consular
officer spoke with one of the two American citizen managers of the
Semliki Safari Lodge on the afternoon of April 13, 2007 during the
firefight. The manager said that three other American citizens were
present at the lodge at the time of the fighting, but all were safe
and didn't feel they were in danger. She also noted that the UPDF
had set up a temporary headquarters near the lodge, which resulted
in a large military presence. Post was informed on April 14 that
the lodge decided to close for two weeks while the UPDF continued
its offensive to eliminate the ADF in the region.

4. (SBU) The RSO contacted the officer in charge of police in the
Bundidugyo District, who confirmed early reports of the conflict,
and later reported on April 14 that the road to and from the Semliki
Safari Lodge was open.

5. (SBU) The military reportedly will continue its operations
against the ADF until it eliminates the rebels. Post continues to
monitor the situation closely, and is taking measures to re-notify
Americans of the dangers of travel in the region. In recent months,
Post's Restricted Area Travel Request policy for official Americans
was updated to include districts in western Uganda with known ADF
presence. In addition, the Consular Information Sheet is being
updated to include a warning about travel in key western Uganda
districts.
BROWNING

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