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U.N.: Lord's Resistance Army slays 537

GENEVA, Switzerland, Jan. 13 (UPI) -- Lord's Resistance Army rebels have killed 537 people and kidnapped 408 in the Democratic Republic of Congo since September, the United Nations says.

Investigators for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees also said Tuesday in Geneva, Switzerland, the LRA bears responsibility for displacing 104,000 people in Oriental province, near Congo's borders with Uganda and southern Sudan, since fighting erupted last year.

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UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond said many of these internal refugees are still hiding in the bush in areas around the town of Faradje, which was hit heavily in December by fighting between the LRA and a joint Congolese, Sudanese and Ugandan armed task force. Redmond said that out of an estimated 37,000 people who escaped from Faradje, more than 10,000 are children.

"We remain extremely concerned about the fate of residents who are now increasingly caught in a conflict zone near the borders of the DRC, the Central African Republic and Sudan," Redmond said. "The displaced population is in dire need of food, shelter, medicines, clothes and other aid items."

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