Uganda rebels accused of killing hundreds of civilians

Ugandan rebel group the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has slaughtered at least 537 people and kidnapped another 408 in the north-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the United Nations said on Tuesday.

“We are increasingly concerned about the humanitarian situation and continuing attacks by the LRA on the civilian population in the DRC’s Orientale province,” said Ron Redmond, spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

About 104 000 people have also been forced to flee the violence that broke out last September in the region neighbouring South Sudan and Uganda, he said.

“Many of these internally displaced people are still hiding in the bush, particularly in areas around the town of Faradje which was heavily hit during the Christmas period,” he said.

Troops from DRC, Uganda and South Sudan have conducted joint operations against the LRA since December, but the military action has provoked further retaliatory raids by the rebels against the local civilian population.

Redmond said sightings of LRA rebels are “causing panic and new displacement” throughout the region.

The UN agency’s staff was also reporting “considerable ongoing population movements in the direction of Faradje and areas south of Dungu”, he said.

“We remain extremely concerned about the fate of residents who are now increasingly caught in a conflict zone near the borders of the DRC, the Central African Republic and Sudan,” said Redmond.

The LRA last week demanded an end to a joint regional military offensive against its forces and urged UN mediators to organise fresh consultations.—Sapa-AFP

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