UN report details attacks on civilians

Associated Press / December 22, 2009

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GENEVA - The United Nations accused the Uganda-based Lord’s Resistance Army yesterday of killing, mutilating, and raping villagers in Sudan and Congo in what may have been crimes against humanity.

The rebels killed at least 1,200 people and abducted 1,400 in northeastern Congo from September 2008 to June 2009, said a report by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

A separate report by the UN’s rights office said that, in at least 27 attacks on villages in southern Sudan, the Lord’s Resistance Army killed more than 80 civilians and kidnapped many others to use as child soldiers, sex slaves, and spies. The report said the attacks in Sudan took place between December 2008 and March 2009.

Both reports were based on hundreds of interviews with survivors and several field trips to the remote areas by UN employees, said Rupert Colville, spokesman for the high commissioner.

Survivors in Sudan told UN investigators that armed Lord’s Resistance Army rebels arrived in groups of between five and 20 and attacked people with axes, bayonets, hoes, knives and machetes. They reserved the use of firearms for those who tried to flee, the report said.

The attacks in Sudan may amount to crimes against humanity, while the widespread abuses in Congo may have been war crimes as well, it said.