Uganda

Uganda: Rebels kill four in northern Pader district

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ARUA, 21 June (IRIN) - Four villagers were hacked to death and several others seriously wounded on Monday during an attack by rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) in the northern district of Pader, the army said.

"They used farm tools to kill four of them and left five others unconscious, thinking that they were dead," Lt Tabaro Kiconco, a Ugandan army spokesman based in the north, said.

He said the rebels had attacked a group of villagers who had gone to work in their gardens in Oryang village in Pader district, about 440 km north of the Ugandan capital, Kampala.

"Our troops were alerted of the attack by those who escaped. They managed to rush the injured to Kitgum hospital, where they are admitted," he added.

The spokesman said the assault was an act of revenge for the loss of six LRA combatants and several weapons on Sunday during a raid by the Ugandan army.

The army, he added, was pursuing the insurgents responsible for the incident on Monday evening .

The LRA has waged a 19-year war against the government of President Yoweri Museveni and relief agencies believe the rebels have abducted more than 20,000 children to serve as fighters, porters and sex slaves.

The conflict has driven approximately 1.6 million people from their homes to live in internally displaced persons' camps scattered across the region.

The army has claimed in recent months that the LRA rebellion has been weakened, saying the latest attacks were a desperate attempt by the group to remain in the limelight.

See related report: "Waiting for elusive peace in the war-ravaged north" at: http://www.irinnews.org/S_report.asp?ReportID=47568

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