Lachor Seminarian Eludes Captors in Northern Uganda

Mounting Concern Over Fate of His Companions

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LACHOR, MAY 19, 2003 ( Another seminarian, one of about forty others, managed to escape the rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) nearly a week after the captors abducted the group from the minor seminary of Lachor, Northern Uganda.

The news was reported to MISNA agency by Archbishop John Baptist Odama of Gulu.

The 14-year-old boy managed to escape yesterday, eluding the surveillance of his captors and hiding in the bush, where he was found by Kampala government troops patrolling the zone for rebels. The seminarian has been held since last night at the military command of Gulu for questioning.

«I hope to meet with him in the afternoon, but we are still very concerned about the others,» the archbishop said. The most probable hypothesis is that the youths, all between the ages of 12 and 18, were divided into small groups and forced to enroll in the rebel lines. «The desperation of their families is immense; they fear they will never see their children again,» Archbishop Odama explained.

Though no bodies have been found, there is also growing concern over a report on the assassination of three of the seminarians who could not keep up with the rest, as reported by three others of the group, who managed to escape on Friday.

«This anguish will only end with a real interest of the international community in the Ugandan civil war, the archbishop told MISNA. «We are anguished by the fact that the people abroad know nothing about the tragedy of our people and the international community is doing nothing to stop it,» he added.

The archbishop of Gulu also reported that the regular forces have not suspended the searches. So far six of the youths have escaped from the rebels: 4 seminarians and two students.

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