Rebels attack CAR town, kidnap girls

2010-10-13 09:36

Bangui - Rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) abducted a number of girls during an attack on the Central African Republic town of Birao, a senior military official said on Tuesday.

During the attack on Sunday evening, LRA rebels "looted shops and took several civilian hostages, particularly girls", a senior member of the Centrafrican military said on condition of anonymity, without specifying the exact number of hostages.

A member of the town's police force said at least five people were taken by the rebels, who retreated when government troops arrived on the scene.

Rebels of the LRA, a group originated in Uganda, have kidnapped at least 700 people in the Central African Republic since February last year, according to Human Rights Watch.

Its top leaders are accused of massacres, mutilation, forcibly enlisting boys as child soldiers, and taking girls as sex slaves.

Birao is a garrison town near the borders with Chad and Sudan in an area where attacks by rebel groups including the LRA occur with regularity.