Ugandan Rebels on a Campaign Against Church

ROME, JUNE 23, 2003 ( The Catholic Church in Uganda fears that it may be the new target of rebels in a brutal insurgency in northern districts, the Catholic Information Service for Africa reports.

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During its 17-year insurgency against the government, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has been known for abducting children to use as soldiers and sex slaves.

Following attempts by Church leaders to mediate a cease-fire between the rebels and the government, LRA leader Joseph Kony is reported to have ordered Catholic missions to be destroyed, priests and missionaries killed, and nuns attacked.

Last Wednesday, well-armed LRA rebels attacked an orphanage run by the Sacred Heart Sisters and abducted 20 children, aged 7 to 17. The children were roped together and marched off into the bush. Four managed to escape. The raid was carried out at Adjumani, about 40 kilometers (25 miles) south of the border with Sudan.

A Loreto nun from the refugee camp in Adjumani visited the CISA offices in Nairobi, Kenya, on Friday and confirmed the news.

Sister Anne Kelly said the abducted children were Ugandan and Sudanese. On Thursday, her colleagues evacuated another 133 children from Adjumani to relative safety at Moyo, across the River Nile, in northern Uganda.

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