Kinshasa, DR Congo | AFP |
Nearly 100 people have been kidnapped in northeast DR Congo during an attack blamed on Uganda’s rebel Lord’s Resistance Army, the United Nations said Wednesday.
Lieutenant-Colonel Martin Amouzou Codjo, spokesman for the UN’s MONUSCO peace mission in DR Congo, said the suspected LRA members had “attacked and looted” two villages during Saturday’s attack in Bas-Uele province.
“These attackers also kidnapped nearly a hundred people to carry the loot,” Codjo told a press conference, condemning the regular atrocities committed by the ruthless LRA against civilians in northeast DR Congo.
The LRA first emerged in northern Uganda in 1986 when it took up arms in the name of the Acholi ethnic group against the government of President Yoweri Museveni.
Over the years it has moved freely across porous regional borders, shifting from Uganda to sow terror in southern Sudan before heading into northeastern DR Congo in 2005, finally crossing into the southeastern Central African Republic in 2008.
Combining religious mysticism with guerrilla tactics and bloodthirsty ferocity, its leader Joseph Kony has turned scores of young girls into his personal sex slaves while claiming to be fighting to impose the Bible’s Ten Commandments.
The group has killed more than 100,000 people and kidnapped more than 60,000 children, forcing many of them to become child soldiers, according to the UN.
Top LRA commander Dominic Ongwen, himself a former child soldier who became one of the group’s most feared leaders, is due to go on trial at the International Criminal Court (ICC) in December charged with keeping sex slaves and recruiting child soldiers.
Kony, who remains elusive after a decade-long manhunt, has also been charged by the ICC with war crimes.