8 October 2005

Uganda: 4,000 LRA Captives Missing

Kampala — AT least 4,000 children who were among the tens of thousands abducted by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels cannot be traced, the Uganda Human Rights Commission (UHRC) 2004 report states.

The report that was released on September 26 in Kampala indicated that the army killed 6, 274 LRA rebel combatants.

The rights body condemned the act saying the majority were abducted children.

The report accuses the Uganda People's Defence Forces (UPDF) of torturing civilians in the north by using brutal methods to extract information or to instill discipline in suspects.

"Methods of torture include rubbing eyes with red pepper to obtain an admission, beating using gun butts, fracturing of limbs, piercing of victims with bayonets and suspending weights on genitals," the report said.

The LRA have fought the government since 1988 and as a result, over 1.6 million people have been displaced and about 30,000 children and youth abducted.

The rebels force the abducted children into their ranks and girls are forced into sex slavery.

Many of the children come back home after escaping from the rebels or being rescued by the government forces.

However, according to UHRC, "By the end of 2004, out of the 26,000 children abducted by LRA, 4,000 were still unaccounted for in northern Uganda."

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