UN Report: Kony’s LRA Still Recruits Children

Posted June 6th, 2012 at 7:15 pm (UTC-5)
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The United Nations says that the Ugandan rebel group known as the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) continues to perpetrate violations against children, including recruiting them as soldiers.

A new report by U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says the rebel group led by Joseph Kony has abducted close to 600 children, almost half of them girls, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Central African Republic (CAR), and in South Sudan in recent years.

In his first report to the U.N. Security Council on the subject, Mr. Ban documents violations committed against children, and measures taken to address the LRA threat between July, 2009 and February, 2012.

The group has waged a 26-year reign of terror in Central Africa, attacking and looting villages, killing and abducting their inhabitants, and turning kidnap victims into child soldiers and sex slaves with the idea of turning Uganda into a Christian theocracy. Kony’s initial popularity has waned over the years following reports of atrocities that led to thousands of deaths and displacement of close to 2 million people.

The latest U.N. report says that by 2004, the LRA had largely been driven from Uganda through a sustained military effort and Kony then exported its terror campaign to neighboring countries. In 2005, he was indicted for war crimes and crimes against humanity by the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, but has evaded capture.

A U.N. report last month said the group managed to avoid capture by being constantly on the move between Uganda, the Central African Republic and South Sudan. It is believed that Kony currently has between 200 and 500 fighters.

The Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict, Radhika Coomaraswamy, told reporters at the U.N. headquarters in New York Wednesday that the LRA “continues to cast a long shadow across central Africa, causing enormous suffering for children.”

The Special Representative’s office monitors six grave violations against children: recruitment and use of child soldiers; killing and maiming; sexual violence; denial of humanitarian access; abduction; and attacks on schools and hospitals.

A multinational force, including 100 U.S. Special Forces, has been searching for him in his native Uganda, neighboring South Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic.

Kony was the subject of a Web video called Kony 2012 that intended to spread the word about his actions.