Uganda: June 13, 2002

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: UPDF spokesman Shaban Bantariza announced on 12 June that 600-700 LRA rebels led by Vincent Otti have arrived in the district of Gulu (North Uganda). Bantariza said that the group has reached the area of Atiak and have supposedly returned from Sudan to contact the rest of the LRA rebels that remained in Uganda, in the Kilak area. Bantariza said that while no rebel atrocities had been reported since Otti's group entered Atiak in Gulu district, the rebels wanted to kill civilians, loot property including food, and try to dodge and confuse the UPDF military intelligence in Uganda and in the Sudan. He theorized that Kony wanted UPDF troops to pull out of southern Sudan to follow their movements, so that they could use the opportunity to cross back to their former bases in Sudan.

Meanwhile, the Women's Commission for Refugee Women and Children (New York) published a press release on the 13th, noting that thousands of northern Ugandan parents are desperately trying to find out what has happened to their children abducted by the LRA and taken into southern Sudan. Over 12,000 children have been abducted by the LRA and taken to bases across the Sudanese border over the past 14 years and while more than 5,000 have managed to escape, the majority remain essentially slaves; forced to become child soldiers, sexual slaves and laborers. There have been no signs of these LRA-abducted children emerging from the Sudan, even as prisoners of war taken by Ugandan troops. - Adam Geibel

Women's Commission Experts available for interviews: Jane D. Lowicki, Senior Coordinator Children and Adolescent's Project, 212-551-3107 Allison Anderson Pillsbury, project Manager Children and Adolescent's Project, 212-551-3107


 

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