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U.N. worried about Congolese violence

KINSHASA, Democratic Republic of Congo, Dec. 15 (UPI) -- Congolese leaders should be prepared for attacks by the Ugandan rebel Lord's Resistance Army during the upcoming holiday season, the United Nations warned.

The United Nations estimates that the LRA may have killed more than 1,800 people and abducted another 2,400 more since 2007. Many of the women targeted by the rebel group were raped or forced into sexual slavery.

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On Christmas Day, 2008, roving gangs of LRA descended on Congolese citizens, killing at least 477 civilians and kidnapping hundreds more.

The U.N. mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo said it was concerned about renewed violence as Christmas Day approaches.

The Congolese mission said that when it announced it was deploying more troops around the country earlier this month, the LRA responded quickly with minor attacks.

The LRA, the United Nations said, was formed in Uganda in the 1980s, targeting Uganda civilians and security forces ever since.

Human Rights Watch said it discovered through independent interviews that the LRA abducted nearly 700 people in the Central African Republic and parts of the Congo over the past year.

Nearly 30 percent of those were children who were forced into sexual slavery or forced to serve as soldiers, the group said.

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