Submit this form
Home News Videos Music Photos Facebook Twitter Friends Newsletter Podcasts Mobile RSS
Report: Uganda LRA rebels 'on massive forced recruitment drive'

BBC News - August 12, 2010

Uganda's rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) has been accused of going on a massive forced recruitment campaign in remote areas of central Africa.

Human Rights Watch said the group had brutally abducted at least 697 adults and children over the past 18 months.

Civilians were said to have been taken in remote regions of the Central African Republic (CAR) and the north of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The LRA, led by Joseph Kony, has fought the Ugandan government since 1986.

Its fighters, who are being hunted by Ugandan special forces, are now spread across northern DR Congo, Southern Sudan and the east of the CAR.

"They've been carrying out mass-scale abductions in order to replenish their ranks," Anneke Van Woudenberg, a senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch, told the BBC's World Today programme.

Some of those abducted managed to escape, bringing with them tales of children forced to kill other children and trained to treat other human beings as animals.

"The LRA tied the hands of the victims behind their back, a cord around their legs, and placed the victims face down on the ground," a 12-year-old Congolese girl told Human Rights Watch.

"Then the LRA would give us children a heavy wooden stick and force us to beat them on the head till they died."

International action

The Human Rights Watch report says girls are being used for sex or as servants. Refusing sexual relations is often punished by death.

"We've conducted interviews with hundreds of people over the course of the past month. And the evidence is overwhelming that this is indeed being ordered by the LRA's leader Joseph Kony and being carried out by his top commanders," Ms Van Woudenberg said.

To escape these activities, 54,000 villagers have fled from their homes in the Bas Uele region of northern DR Congo.

Mr Kony began his rebellion 20 years ago, claiming to want to install a Bible-based theocracy in Uganda.

He is wanted by the International Criminal Court (ICC), and now lives an itinerant life, crossing between Sudan and the CAR.

In 2008, he was about to sign a peace deal, negotiated by Southern Sudan, but at the last minute he refused to lay down his arms.

In May, the US passed legislation promising a comprehensive strategy to protect civilians from LRA attacks.

Human Rights Watch is calling for swift action by the US and African governments to bring the LRA leaders to justice, in order to end their campaign of violence.

Ms Van Woudenberg said the group no longer had a political objective.

"This is no longer a group with an ideology. This is a group that survives on sheer brutality," she added.

"I really think that's why the governments of the region, but also the international community, need to end this problem. The targeting of children on such a deliberate scale, on such a large scale, is something that is a crime against humanity."

Related articles

  1. 'Deadly environment' plus 'political and social' obstacles hinder Ebola fight, Security Council hears (July 24, 2019)
  2. Ebola outbreak declared an international Public Health Emergency (July 17, 2019)
  3. DR Congo Delays Results of December Election (January 6, 2019)
  4. Jean-Pierre Bemba named MLC presidential candidate (July 13, 2018)
  5. UN Report Blames Ugandan Islamists for 237 Killings in DR Congo (May 14, 2015)
  6. ICC Confirms 14-Year Sentence Against Thomas Lubanga (December 1, 2014)
  7. ICC Case Against Bemba Wrapping Up as Another Opens (November 12, 2014)
  8. Violence in North Kivu Kills 21, Mostly Women, Children (October 18, 2014)
  9. ICC confirms war crimes charges against Bosco Ntaganda (June 10, 2014)
  10. ICC sentences Germain Katanga to 12 years (May 23, 2014)
  11. Kerry Calls on Kabila to Honor Constitution (May 4, 2014)
  12. Kerry in DR Congo for Security Talks (May 3, 2014)
  13. Security Council extends UN mission, intervention force in DR Congo for one year (March 28, 2014)
  14. Death toll in Lake Albert boat accident rises to 251 (March 27, 2014)
  15. U.S. sending more personnel to Uganda to hunt LRA leader Joseph Kony (March 24, 2014)
  16. Death toll in Lake Albert boat accident rises to 108 people (March 24, 2014)
  17. ICC finds Germain Katanga guilty of war crimes and crime against humanity (March 7, 2014)
  18. DR Congo Takes Chairmanship of COMESA at Summit in Kinshasa (February 26, 2014)
  19. New DR Congo amnesty law welcomed by UN envoys (February 5, 2014)
  20. Colonel Mamadou Ndala Is Killed in Ambush (January 2, 2014)
  21. DR Congo, M23 Rebels Sign Declarations Marking End of Kampala Peace Talks (December 12, 2013)
  22. No 'Peace Deal' With Defeated M23 Rebels, DR Congo Says (November 11, 2013)
  23. Congo Will Not Sign a 'Peace Deal' With Defeated M23 Rebels, Government Says (November 6, 2013)
  24. Congo Army Takes Control of Mbuzi Hill From M23 Rebels (November 4, 2013)
  25. Kabila Congratulates Congo Army for Defeating M23 Rebels (October 30, 2013)
  26. Congo Army Liberates Rutshuru, Kiwanja and Kibumba From M23 Rebels (October 27, 2013)
  27. Congo Army Dislodges M23 Rebels From Strategic Town of Kibumba (October 26, 2013)
  28. Congo Army Takes Control of Kibumba After Fighting With M23 Rebels Resumes (October 25, 2013)
  29. Rwandan Support for M23 Rebels Frustrates Attempts to End Fighting in Eastern Congo (September 26, 2013)
  30. Rwanda 'recruiting for M23 rebels' (July 31, 2013)

Live TV Congo Radio en ligne Radio
Available on App Store
Get it on Google Play

Contact Us | About Us | Édition en Français | French Edition

© All rights reserved.