Ugandan LRA rebels hold 3 Sudanese children – village chief
SOURCE: The Sudan Tribute
By Richard Ruati
Ugandan rebels are holding 3 children they abducted from schools during raids last Sunday on villages in remote Tambura County, a village chief said on Monday.
"Fighters from Uganda’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) appeared in Namutina at 1:00PM and collected three kids and escaped with them to the bush but they didn’t kill anybody," local resident said.
The abducted children are between the ages of 8-15 years old.
A local chief who requested anonymity said "The abducted kids are two girls and one boy and their mother since yesterday is following them. Since yesterday nobody has heard from her". She was quoted by her neighbours as saying "I cannot live on the earth without my beloved kids, I must follow them and until I am equal grabbed."
He added that "apparently only Arrow Boys are following the LRA rebels".
"These children were taken from their schools. I am very concerned that they will now be forced to fight or support fighting, putting their lives at risk," he said.
Rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) have been attempting to boost their forces by raiding schools.
Children in Uganda, South Sudan, DRC and CAR towns have been target of abductions and residents are again complaining that the allied forces are not protecting the population
The LRA, led by the reclusive self-styled mystic Joseph Kony, has led one of Africa’s longest-running guerrilla wars against the government in Kampala, and since the collapse of Juba peace talks, the rebels exported their violence to neighbouring countries. They are notorious for abducting children to use as child soldiers and sex slaves.
Two years of peace talks in south Sudan between the LRA and the Ugandan government collapsed in April 2008 when Kony, who is wanted for war crimes by prosecutors at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, failed to sign a final peace deal.
END OF IMPUNITY
President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda has said that impunity shall no longer be tolerated and all world citizens should work together to punish perpetrators of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
He was speaking in Kampala Sunday evening after a commemorative war victim’s day football match. Museveni said no one should kill people and go scot free. Museveni has been under pressure to convince the ICC to rescind indictments of Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) leader, Joseph Kony and three of his top commanders for war crimes.
The most-wanted Ugandans are Joseph Kony, the LRA rebel leader, and two of his commanders, Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen. Two other warrants for arrest were made on Vincent Otti and Raska Lukwiya, both of whom are now dead.
The rebels have been demanding the withdrawal of the indictments before they sign a peace agreement that was agreed upon by the LRA rebels and the Uganda government in the 2006 Southern Sudan government mediated Juba peace talks.
Museveni said the match in which he participated on opposite sides with Ban Ki-Moon, the UN Secretary General is aimed at demonstrate solidarity with war victims world over.
He applauded the Uganda War Victims Foundation, African Youth Initiative Network on the eve of the International Criminal Court Review Conference that starts in Kampala on Monday.
Ban Ki-moon said the match has sent a very strong message to the world that justice should be part of efforts to bring about peace in any part of the world.
"As we have played so peacefully on the pitch today, I hope we can work together to ensure there is justice for stable peace, so that we can ensure respect for human rights and ensure development," Ban Ki-moon said to the applause of hundred of hundreds of peoples who attended the match.
The LRA has been successfully driven out of northern Uganda but continues to carry out raids in Congo, Sudan, and Central African Republic from bases in Congo and CAR.
In December 2008, Uganda, Congo and Sudan agreed to coordinate military efforts to stamp out the 20-year LRA rebellion, which worsens instability in a remote, mineral-rich region of Africa.