Uganda rebels massacre villagers

As many as 42 people have been killed in an attack by Ugandan rebels on a village in the north of the country.

Fighters from the brutal Lord’s Resistance Army attacked Lokodi village on Thursday night, hacking victims to death with machetes and clubs.

The army says 25 people died in the village, but survivors say more were marched away and killed elsewhere.

The army says it has weakened the LRA, but the killings follow another deadly attack just days ago.

On Sunday, the rebels struck a camp for displaced civilians, also in the north of the country.

Nearly 50 people may have been killed in that attack, says the BBC’s Will Ross in Kampala.

‘Difficult to defend’

In the latest attack, one report suggests rebels clashed with army troops north of Gulu town, about 360km (220 miles) north of the Ugandan capital Kampala, on Thursday evening.

The rebels then apparently scattered, regrouping to launch their assault on Lokodi village, further north of Gulu, shortly before nightfall.

“At least 25 were killed, eight of them children. They were hacked to death and others were burnt inside their houses,” army spokesman Lieutenant Paddy Ankunda told AFP news agency.

“The village has scattered huts, making it difficult for the army to defend it. It is very easy to defend a camp where people are in one location, but when people are scattered, it becomes very difficult,” Lt Ankunda told the agency.

Our correspondent says survivors speak of more victims being marched several kilometres away from the camp and later killed. They say 42 people died in total.

War drags on

The military has claimed significant success against the rebels in recent months and several large groups have given themselves up under an amnesty.

But after 18 years of war, people living through the conflict are highly sceptical that a military solution can ever end the violence, says our correspondent.

The claims of imminent success against the LRA only seem to increase the frequency and brutality of their attacks, he says.

Critics of the Ugandan government’s approach say not enough emphasis has been place don talking to the rebels, especially since the LRA is almost entirely made up of abducted brainwashed children.

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May 24, 2004

Religion News Blog posted this on Monday May 24, 2004.
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