Uganda: February 21, 2004


In the most devastating attack on civilians in northern Uganda for nearly 10 years, LRA rebels stormed a camp for 4,800 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and killed over 200 civilians (as well as a soldier and government militiamen). The Cuka Dek Orit parish camp in Erute North county, is off the main road set back in the bush, about 360 kilometers north of Kampala. Also known as Barlonyo camp, it is 26 kilometers north of Lira. 

The rebels, camouflaged in Amuka militia uniforms, first fired a recoilless rifle into a barracks where 35 Amuka militiamen were housed before moving into the camp. Most of the refugees who died were burned alive, when the rebels set fire to their thatched huts after ordering them into their houses at gunpoint. Others trying to flee were shot, bludgeoned or hacked to death by rebels wielding clubs, machetes and AK-47s.

The army claims that by housing the displaced in the camps, it is able to guard them against rebel abductions conducted by the LRA to fill its fighting ranks. This is the largest number of civilians killed in one place, at the same time by the rebels since the April 1995 Atiak raid (during which 240 were killed). - Adam Geibel




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