Ugandan rebels kill 35, kidnap many in Congo: UN


Ugandan rebels have killed at least 35 people in northeastern Congo this year, the United Nations said, warning of an uptick in attacks that increasingly have targeted populated areas.

More than 100 people have been kidnapped and some 17 000 people displaced in more than 50 attacks by the Ugandan Lord’s Resistance Army rebels in Orientale province, UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency, said in a statement.

The LRA was based in northern Uganda but now plagues the Democratic Republic of Congo’s remote northeast, neighbouring Sudan and Central African Republic, despite military operations against them by UN peacekeepers and regional armies, Reuters reports
“UNHCR is alarmed by the upsurge in violence against civilians by the LRA,” the agency said in a statement issued on Tuesday, adding that rebels appeared to be targeting more populated areas, including the towns of Dungu and Faradje.

The Congolese government, which faces a string of other foreign and local rebel groups in its east, has been accused by local residents of downplaying the threat posed by the LRA.

But the government said attacks blamed on the LRA often are carried out by local bandits and said its operations to push the rebels from the country had succeeded.

Over the years, tens of thousands of people, many of them children, have been abducted to become fighters or sex slaves. The group is thought to number just a few hundred.

A civil society worker in the town of Dungu, which has been subjected to LRA attacks, told Reuters it was “an insult to the population” that the government should blame the violence on local bandits.

On a recent mission to the area the UN’s deputy head of mission to Congo, Fidele Sarassoro said there appeared to be contradictions between what some in the government were saying and what civilians had told them.