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.

  • FBI confirms death of top militant in bloody Philippine raid
    FBI confirms death of top militant in bloody Philippine raid

    The FBI confirmed on Thursday that a senior Malaysian militant with a $5-million reward on his head was killed in a January raid in the Philippines that also left 44 police commandos dead. The confirmation provides some validation for the botched raid that plunged President Benigno Aquino's administration into crisis and jeopardised efforts to end a decades-long Muslim separatist insurgency. "After a thorough review of forensic data and information obtained from our Philippine law enforcement …

  • Micronesians appeal for help after devastating typhoon
    Micronesians appeal for help after devastating typhoon

    Residents in storm wrecked areas of Micronesia appealed for help on Thursday as a clean-up began on the worst affected islands after Super Typhoon Maysak swept through the region on its way towards the Philippines. "We can do with all the help we can get," Courtney Stinnett at the Truk Stop Hotel dive shop on the main island of Weno in Chuuk state told AFP. A state of emergency has been declared in Chuuk, the largest region in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) where five people were …

  • Super typhoon weakens after entering Philippines

    MANILA, Philippines (AP) — A super typhoon blamed for the deaths of at least four people on islands in the western Pacific Ocean has weakened after reaching Philippine waters and is expected to further lose strength as it approaches the country's northeastern coast, officials said Thursday. …

  • From Space, Typhoon Maysak's Eye Looks Like a Black Hole (Photo)
    From Space, Typhoon Maysak's Eye Looks Like a Black Hole (Photo)

    It seemed like a black hole from a Sci-Fi movie," NASA astronaut Terry Virts wrote on Twitter. Virts and his fellow astronauts have been posting pictures of the typhoon, which is expected to hit the Philippines this weekend if it doesn't change course. "Commands respect even from space," wrote Samantha Cristoforetti, an Italian astronaut with the European Space Agency who launched into space with Virts in November. As of 11 a.m. EdT today (1500 GMT), the super typhoon was 223 miles (359 km) …

  • Muslim group calls for universal peace
    Muslim group calls for universal peace

    As predominantly Catholic Philippines and the rest of the Christian world observe the Holy Week, peace advocates like the Young Muslim Professionals Network (YMPN) are appealing to Filipinos of various creeds and persuasion to embrace the universal message of kindness, love and peace. The group issued the call as peace negotiations between the government and the Moro Islamic Liberation Front teeter due to the Mamasapano incident where members of the rebel group killed 44 police commandos on a …

  • Ex-WB exec pushes BBL passage
    Ex-WB exec pushes BBL passage

    A former World Bank official has warned of dire consequences for the Philippines if the proposed Bangsamoro Basic Law (BBL) is not passed into law. Nigel Roberts, former director on conflict, security and development, said that more conflict could occur without the BBL. “It takes about 15 years to get back to pre-conflict GDP growth rates, and 20 years for trade to recover,” Roberts said in his blog at the World Bank website. The World Bank estimated that economic losses amounted to $10 …

  • Despite typhoon, summer is here
    Despite typhoon, summer is here

    Super Typhoon Chedeng roared toward Luzon as the weather bureau announced the official start of summer in the country yesterday. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) announced yesterday the official start of the dry or summer season in the country due to the termination of the cold northeast monsoon. “The general public is advised to take precautionary measures to minimize heat stress and take note of the need in optimizing the daily use of …

  • Noy told: Just answer the questions
    Noy told: Just answer the questions

    Just answer the 20 questions. The Makabayan bloc of seven party-list representatives made this appeal to President Aquino yesterday after his spokesman claimed the Chief Executive has already answered most of the questions posed by the militant lawmakers regarding the Mamasapano incident. For instance, he said the President has not yet explained why he allowed then suspended Philippine National Police chief Director General Alan Purisima to take the lead in Oplan Exodus or the mission to …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options