Kony rebels still abducting hundreds of children: UN

Joseph Kony's Lord Resistance Army has abducted more than 600 child soldiers and sex slaves over the past two years even as the hunt for the rebel leader intensifies, the UN said Wednesday.

Efforts to trap Kony have been redoubled since the release of an Internet documentary this year which has been viewed more than 100 million times. But a top UN envoy said Kony is pursuing an ever more desperate rampage in the jungles of Central Africa.

Many children abducted by Kony are being forced to kill relatives, Radhika Coomaraswamy, UN special representative on children and conflict, told reporters.

A UN report on the LRA said it had information on 45 children killed and maimed during attacks by Kony's rebels between July 2009 and February 2012.

At least 591 children, including 268 girls, were seized over the same time in Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and South Sudan, the report added.

"The actual numbers of abductions is much higher, these are just the ones we are aware of," Coomaraswamy said.

"These children are used in various roles: as combatants, as spies, as guards, as porters, as cooks. They are often forced to kill their family and friends, especially in the villages that they come from."

Kony, who launched his rebellion in Uganda two decades ago, is now said to have between 300 and 500 troops -- about half of these are children or former child soldiers.

The UN envoy said almost all the girls abducted were raped or forcibly married to combatants. Most of the girls had children born of rape and had AIDS and other illnesses when they escaped or were released.

Kony himself has had child brides, according to Coomoraswamy.

But she added that the number of child killings had fallen and that children were being abducted for a shorter period of time which could be signs that the LRA is in "survival mode".

Uganda is leading a multi-national African force hunting Kony in DR Congo, Central African Republic and South Sudan. One hundred US Special Forces are advising the troops.

Kony, who is wanted for war crimes by the International Criminal Court, is having to move nearly every day as the hunt closes in on him, Abou Moussa, UN special representative for Central Africa, said recently.

Grace Akallo, a Ugandan who was abducted from her school by Kony's group in 1996 and escaped seven months later, told how she had been trained to use an AK-47 rifle and watched friends forced to kill their parents.

"We were the ones sent in the front to fight. The leaders were behind. We were the ones in the battlefield," Akallo told a press conference held with Coomoraswamy.

"Your bullets are finished -- you shoot your friend in order to get their bullets and continue fighting because you know if you retreat you are going to be killed," she added.

"They are still abducting children, they are still sexually assaulting women and girls," she added, calling for greater international efforts to catch Kony.

The "Kony 2012" video by the Invisible Children campaign group this year has brought the hunt to a wider international audience.

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Indonesian executions: key questions and answers
    Indonesian executions: key questions and answers

    Indonesia is set soon to execute eight foreigners convicted of drug offences, despite international outrage and desperate appeals for mercy from relatives. Authorities on Saturday gave formal notice to the eight -- from Australia, Brazil, Nigeria and the Philippines -- that they would face a firing squad imminently. If the executions go ahead, the seven men and one woman will be led to a clearing on a prison island to be shot by police marksmen -- after authorities have placed a black mark on …

  • Pagasa: Drought may worsen
    Pagasa: Drought may worsen

    The drought in 12 already dry areas in the country is expected to worsen as the summer season peaks next month, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) warned yesterday. In an advisory, PAGASA said the provinces of Albay, Bataan, Batangas, Biliran, Cavite, Cebu, Ilocos Norte, Leyte, Misamis Occidental, Pampanga, Zamboanga del Norte and Zamboanga del Sur will continue to receive “way below” or “below normal” rainfall in May. PAGASA defines …

  • Maximum restraint for Phl troops in West Phl Sea
    Maximum restraint for Phl troops in West Phl Sea

    The military has advised its pilots conducting surveillance in the West Philippine Sea to exercise maximum restraint even if they are being bullied by Chinese troops. Armed Forces spokesman Brig. Gen. Joselito Kakilala said all actions of the pilots should be consistent with the declaration of conduct signed by claimant countries. Armed Forces public affairs chief Lt. Col. Harold Cabunoc said the Philippines should remain on moral high ground when it comes to the territorial dispute. A …

  • MMDA simulates rescue march after quake, tsunami
    MMDA simulates rescue march after quake, tsunami

    The Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA) yesterday led the annual rescue march from Quezon City to Manila, giving rescue volunteers a glimpse of possible scenarios if the metropolis is hit by a strong quake or is inundated by a tsunami. Cora Jimenez, MMDA general manager, said 700 volunteer rescuers walked from the Quezon City memorial circle to the Bonifacio monument in front of the Manila city hall to simulate a response-exercise to a magnitude 7.2 earthquake. Renato Solidum, …

  • Islamic State threatens Mindanao, Phl tells Asean
    Islamic State threatens Mindanao, Phl tells Asean

    Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario bared yesterday before the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) reports of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) threat to the Philippines through the Black Flag Movement in Mindanao. Speaking before ASEAN foreign ministers, Del Rosario said the ISIS threat to Philippine security is real rather than imagined because of the Black Flag Movement’s pledge of allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. …

  • ‘Chinese reclamation affecting Phl’s energy security bid’
    ‘Chinese reclamation affecting Phl’s energy security bid’

    China’s occupation and buildup of its military structures in the West Philippine Sea and South China Sea is causing the country’s top energy official to get the jitters as the encroachment is seen as a huge dent on the Philippines’ efforts to achieve energy security. “It is a concern but if we don’t bring it to the United Nations, where will we bring it? We cannot bang heads with them,” Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla told The STAR in an interview over the weekend. The US Energy …

  • Phl to Asean: China getting de facto control
    Phl to Asean: China getting de facto control

    The Philippines yesterday urged the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) to unite and stop China’s massive reclamation in disputed waters as it will give China “de facto control” over the area and cause $100 million in marine wealth losses annually. At the ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting here, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario told his counterparts that the situation in West Philippine Sea had worsened just a year after the Philippines began to draw international …

  • Gov’t spends P11.8 M for Noy’s Asean trip
    Gov’t spends P11.8 M for Noy’s Asean trip

    The government has allotted about P11.8 million for President Aquino’s attendance at the 26th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit in Kuala Lumpur and Langkawi in Malaysia from April 26 to 28. “President Aquino’s participation to the 26th ASEAN Summit is important as the region gears toward the creation of an ASEAN community, which is envisioned to provide new opportunities for the peoples of this region, including the Philippines,” Ochoa said in a statement. He was with …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options