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LRA kills 255 civilians, abduct over 700 in DRC, CAR

August 12, 2010 (NAIROBI) - More than 700 adults and children have been abducted and 255 killed in a an abduction campaign by, Ugandan rebel group the Lord’s Resistance Army, in Central African Republic and Democratic Republic of Congo over the last year and a half, Human Rights Watch said yesterday.

A member of a local self defense force runs in the village of Bangadi in northeastern Congo, February 18, 2009. (Reuters)According to the US-based human rights group said nearly ‘one-third of those abducted have been children, many of whom are being forced to serve as soldiers or are being used for sex by the group’s fighters.’

The reporting and advocacy group said the LRA’s abduction campaign has been ‘largely unreported.’

The LRA is alleged to have brutally killed adults and children who, ‘tried to escape, walked too slowly, or were unable to bear the heavy loads they were forced to carry’, the report from Human Rights Watch (HRW) published on August 11 found.

In many cases LRA fighters were also accused of forcing abducted children, ‘to kill other children and adults.’

"The LRA continues its horrific campaign to replenish its ranks by brutally tearing children from their villages and forcing them to fight," Anneke Van Woudenberg, senior Africa researcher at HRW said on the groups website.

"The evidence points to Joseph Kony, the LRA leader, as the author of this atrocious campaign."

The human rights group called on the ‘affected governments and their allies to strengthen their protection of civilians and to put greater emphasis on efforts to rescue the abducted civilians.’

On August 11 a delegation of religious leaders from the Acholi community in northern Uganda visted south Sudan to appeal to regional governments to find a peaceful solution to the conflict.

The full report can be found on the Human Rights Watch website.

(ST)