News24

Ugandan rebels 'kidnapped 700'

2010-08-12 12:49

Kinshasa - Ugandan LRA rebels have kidnapped at least 700 people in attacks in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic since February last year, a rights group said on Thursday.

The Lord's Resistance Army "kidnapped at least 697 adults and children during a little documented campaign in the Central African Republic and the neighbouring Bas-Uele district in Northern DRC," Human Rights Watch said in a statement.

"Nearly a third of those kidnapped are children and many of them are forced to serve as soldiers or are used as sex slaves by the armed group's fighters."

HRW carried out an investigation in the two countries between July 12 and August 11, interviewing 520 civilians "including 90 former kidnap victims".

It said "the LRA brutally killed adults and children who tried to flee, marched too slowly or were unable to carry the heavy stocks they were made to transport" during their attacks.

The LRA, headed by war crimes suspect Joseph Kony, took up arms against the government in northern Uganda in 1988 but since 2005 moved into remote outlying areas in neighbouring countries after coming under pressure from the Ugandan army.