KAMPALA, Uganda (AP) – Rebels from the shadowy Lord’s Resistance Army slashed more than a dozen of their former captives to death with machetes during an attack on a village in north central Uganda, officials said Sunday.
Franco Ojur, an official in the Lira district 155 miles north of Kampala, said the raiders attacked the village of Bata on Saturday morning, slashing up to 15 people to death and making off with 40 children.
But the Lira district army spokesman, Lt. Chris Magezi, put the number of dead at 13 and did not confirm the abductions.
“We have established that all the people killed were formerly abductees who had been rescued,” he said. “The army intervened and rescued 20 others who were going to be massacred.”
The Lord’s Resistance Army is led by Joseph Kony, who claims spiritual powers protect his fighters. They have been fighting the government of President Yoweri Museveni since it took power in 1986 after a five-year bush war.
The group, whose numbers are not known, replenishes its ranks with children it abducts to use as fighters, porters or concubines.
In a statement Sunday, the army said it killed 20 rebel fighters and rescued 127 abducted children.
“There are positive indicators that the LRA terrorists are losing their campaign,” it said.