Uganda

Government troops rescue over 100 children from LRA rebels

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Kampala (dpa) - Over 100 children abducted by Lords Resistance Army rebels have been rescued by government troops during raids on rebel camps over the past 45 days, an army spokesman confirmed Friday

In total 117 people were freed, most of them children and infants. During the raids government soldiers killed 121 rebels, captured 34 and forced 47 others to surrender, the spokesman, lieutenant colonel Shaban Bantariza, told a news conference.

Ten government soldiers were killed and 22 injured in the fighting. "The operations took place from May 1 to June 17. The army has an upper hand over the rebels. They are on the run and we are pursuing them. Almost all those rescued were children and infants born in the bush," Bantariza told reporters.

Ugandan insurgents have abducted thousands of children whom they force to join their rebel armies. Girl abductees are shared out among rebel commanders as "wives".

The 19-year rebellion in Uganda's northern region has left 1.5 million people displaced and tens of thousands killed and maimed.

Efforts to end the war through peaceful means stalled late last year when rebels refused to endorse a draft ceasefire agreement. dpa hw sr

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