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U.N.: LRA still recruiting children

June 7, 2012 at 5:26 PM

KAMPALA, Uganda, June 7 (UPI) -- The Lord's Resistance Army, a Ugandan rebel group, is the most persistent perpetrator of grave violations against children, the United Nations reported.

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's first report to the Security Council on the LRA found that between July 2009 and February 2012, the rebel group abducted at least 591 children, including 268 girls, mostly in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, but also in the Central African Republic and in South Sudan.

The LRA was formed in the 1980s and is currently believed to be made up of between 200 and 500 fighters. LRA forces are known for attacking and looting villages, then killing and abducting their inhabitants, as well as the recruitment of child soldiers, rape and sexual slavery. The group was largely forced out of Uganda by 2004 by a sustained military effort, but has remained active in neighboring countries.

"The LRA continues to cast a long shadow across central Africa, causing enormous suffering for children," said the secretary-general's special representative for children and armed conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy, at a press conference at U.N. Headquarters Wednesday.

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