Ugandan Rebels Reportedly Kill 53 Civilians

KAMPALA, Uganda, NOV. 18, 2003 ( At least 53 civilians died in the attacks by the rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army on villages around Lira, in the district of the same name in northern Uganda, reports say.

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Attacks late Monday left 16 dead in Akaji, 14 in Ongura, 13 in Ngetta and 10 in Iwal — all small villages situated within 10 kilometers from Lira, said the Missionary Service News Agency. The agency based its death toll on reports local and church authorities. It also reported an unknown number of injuries and abductions.

MISNA sources say this latest wave of violence began around 10 p.m., when the LRA rebels burst into the village of Ngeta, 8 kilometers from Lira, going from house to house to round people up.

After leaving Ngeta, the rebels then attacked several other nearby villages. Early reports say the LRA attacked with axes and machetes, rather than gunfire, to avoid drawing attention from Ugandan military troops in the area.

The LRA rebels led by Joseph Kony have wreaked havoc in northern Uganda since 1986. They have killed at least 100,000 people and forced more than 20,000 children into slavery or combat roles. More than 1 million people have fled their homes.

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