LRA violence increasing, U.N. says

March 7, 2012 at 1:26 PM
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GENEVA, Switzerland, March 7 (UPI) -- There have been at least 20 attacks attributed to the Lord's Resistance Army in the Democratic Republic of Congo this year, the U.N. said.

The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees said attacks by the LRA have forced 3,000 people to flee in recent weeks. Most of those displaced by the conflict were already considered refugees.

The UNHCR said it was "very concerned" about the resurgence in violence attributed to the LRA in northeastern DRC.

"After a lull in the second half of last year, which resulted in improved security conditions for the population in the north of the province, fresh attacks on civilians have been reported during the past few weeks in the territories of Dungu, Faradje, Watsa, Niangara, Bondo and Ango, causing 3,000 people to flee," the agency stated.

A panel of experts, in a report to the U.N. Security Council, concluded in January that armed rebel groups in DRC, including the LRA, get funds from trade in natural resources as well as illegal taxation.

The LRA was accused last year by human rights officials with the United Nations of killing at least 26 people in 53 different villages in DRC. Another 21 people, including 10 children, were kidnapped.

The Security Council, in a statement, had said several LRA members were fugitives wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

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