Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army rebels killed at least 10 people and kidnapped more than 50 in attacks on three villages in the eastern Central African Republic at the weekend, local officials said yesterday.
The attacks were the latest in a series in the remote corner of the Central African Republic (CAR), where local authorities have little presence and the Ugandan army has sent elite units to hunt the rebels who have been active for more than two decades.
“Our population has, once again, been subjected to the diabolical atrocities of (LRA leader) Joseph Kony’s rebels,” Remy Semdoutou, the senior official in the eastern prefecture of Haut Mbomou, told Reuters by telephone.
“Yesterday, the village of Agoumar was attacked and 10 people were killed and more than 50 others were taken prisoner by the rebels, who used them to transport the goods they looted,” he added.
Semdoutou said the nearby village of Mboki 3 was also attacked, and the deputy village leader killed and four teenage children kidnapped.
Clement Loutemboli, a radio operator in Obo, the main town in the prefecture, confirmed the 10 deaths in Agoumar and said 22 people were wounded. Villagers trying to defend themselves captured and burned one rebel alive, he added.
Loutemboli said that another nearby village, Zemio, also came under attack.
LRA rebels were active in northern Uganda for nearly two decades before being pushed into neighbouring Democratic Republic of Congo and Sudan in 2005.
Uganda led a strike against rebel bases in Congo in 2008 but the operation failed to net any senior leaders, wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes.
Uganda has sent soldiers to track the group through Congo, Sudan and the CAR and says the operation has been a success. However, scattered fighters have killed hundreds of civilians, arousing criticism from international organisations and local officials.
“Following multiple attacks by the LRA, our population has organised themselves into self-defence units, who resisted the rebels yesterday using machetes, axes, clubs and guns” Semdoutou said.
“I don’t understand the role of the Ugandan army, which claims to be chasing the LRA on our territory, when the rebel that was killed by the population was wearing a brand new Ugandan army uniform. What does that mean?” he added.
Pic: Ugandan LRA rebels