Over the past three years the LRA have used bases at Gong near Katire, Owiny-Ki-Bul, Palotaka, Parajok and, more recently, near abandoned camps formerly used by Sudanese internally displaced persons at Aru. In April 1997 Aru was overrun by a combined force of Sudan People's Liberation Army (SPLA) and UPDF.(10) As of August 1997 the LRA base camp had moved to a site 38 kilometres south east of Juba, one kilometre behind the frontline between the Sudan army and the SPLA.
Arms supplied by the Sudan army are usually brought by truck to LRA camps in Sudan. In 1994 arms were reported to be channelled through the SPLA-United, an SPLA breakaway faction led in Eastern Equatoria by William Nyuon Bany. However, by August 1994 Sudan army regular soldiers were directly involved. Children abducted in 1996 and 1997 report seeing Sudanese soldiers off-loading arms and ammunition from army vehicles at the LRA base camp in Aru. The weapons included AK47 and G3 assault rifles, anti-tank weaponry (including B10 recoilless guns), 81mm and 82mm mortars and landmines, which were not a common feature of the war until the Sudan Government began to support the LRA. R.K. was abducted on 1 January 1997 and trained to place landmines:
It is within the power of the Sudanese authorities to free abducted children. This they have chosen not to do. Indeed, quite the opposite - so far the Sudanese have actively assisted the LRA to keep hold of children.(11) R.O. was 15 when he was abducted in September 1996. The LRA group that took him was attacked by UPDF helicopter gun ships as it moved towards the Sudan border:
In February 1997 J., a 15-year old boy abducted in November 1996, escaped with his brother from the LRA camp at Aru:
J.'s brother escaped again while in transit back to the LRA base. He also managed to get back to Uganda.
The Sudan army's use of the LRA as a militia extends to joint operations against the SPLA. R., who was abducted in April 1996 and taken almost immediately to Sudan, reported that he took part in three joint operations with the Sudan army against the SPLA in 1996 and early 1997. O.R., who was 17 when he was abducted in October 1994, also fought the SPLA:
The capture by the UPDF of 114 Sudanese regular soldiers and 64 LRA members in an engagement on 14 April 1997 is evidence that joint operations were still taking place in the first third of 1997. The Uganda Government reports that this engagement took place at Lelabur, in Uganda close to the Sudan border.