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.

  • Phl, US defense chiefs to meet on sea dispute
    Phl, US defense chiefs to meet on sea dispute

    As US aircraft carrier USS Ronald Regan began its journey to Asian waters amid China’s power flexing in the region, Defense Secretary Voltaire Gazmin would try to hear directly from his US counterpart how far America is willing to go to aid its long-time ally against China’s threatening moves in disputed waters. Gazmin flew to Hawaii last Monday to attend ceremonies for the turnover of leadership of the United States Pacific Command (USPACOM) from Admiral Samuel Locklear to Admiral Harry …

  • Water in Angat Dam falls below critical level
    Water in Angat Dam falls below critical level

    The water level of Angat Dam in Bulacan yesterday fell below the 180-meter critical level for irrigation, the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) said. PAGASA said the dam’s water level further dropped to 179.98 meters as of 6 a.m. yesterday from 180.2 meters on Monday. The priority is the domestic consumption in Metro Manila, according to PAGASA. …

  • PCSO gets P3-B fund for medical aid
    PCSO gets P3-B fund for medical aid

    The Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office (PCSO) reported yesterday that an estimated P3-billion charity fund has been allocated by Congress to the agency to provide medical assistance to indigent patients and also give funds to other government offices including the Philippine Drug Enforcement Agency (PDEA) and the Crop Insurance Program. …

  • Image of Asia: Tearing down squatters' homes near Manila
    Image of Asia: Tearing down squatters' homes near Manila

    In this photo by Bullit Marquez, a demolition crew begins to tear down a squatters' community at suburban Caloocan city, north of Manila, Philippines. Population growth and the lack of economic opportunities in rural areas have driven millions of Filipinos into the squatters' colonies that dot the sprawling metropolitan area in and around Manila. Most of the land they occupy is privately owned, and clearing the dwellings often results in violence. The landowner had offered about $1,344 in …

  • SE Asia Stocks - Mostly down; Thai shares near 2-week low

    BANGKOK, May 26 (Reuters) - Most sharemarkets in Southeast Asia fell on Tuesday with the Thai index ending at a near two-week low and the Philippines touching a near four-week low after trade data while ... …

  • China breaks ground on lighthouse project in South China Sea

    China hosted a groundbreaking ceremony for the building of two lighthouses in the disputed South China Sea, state media said on Tuesday, a move that is likely to escalate tensions in a region already jittery about Beijing's maritime ambitions. China's Ministry of Transport hosted the ceremony for the construction of two multi-functional lighthouses on Huayang Reef and Chigua Reef on the disputed Spratly islands, state news agency Xinhua said, defying calls from the United States and the …

  • SE Asia Stocks - Thai, Philippine indexes weak after trade data

    BANGKOK, May 26 (Reuters) - Most Southeast Asian stock markets rose in line with the rest of Asia on Tuesday but the Thai index pared early gains after weak trade data in April, while the Philippine benchmark ... …

  • Is your home on top of a faultline?
    Is your home on top of a faultline?

    The Philippine Institute of Volcanoly and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) recently issued an updated and high-resolution "atlas" of the East Valley Fault and West Valley Fault, two major faultlines that run through sections of Metro Manila. Metro Manila may be due for a 7.2-magnitude earthquake within this lifetime, say experts from the institute, among them PHIVOLCS director Dr. Renato Solidum, Jr. According to records, the last major earthquake caused by the West Valley Fault took place 357 years …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options