ROME, MAY 14, 2003 (Zenit.org).- In response to the abduction of 44 seminarians in Northern Uganda May 11, country security forces mount a rescue mission, African Catholic Agency CISA reported.
On Sunday morning, May 11, 2003, 44 students from Lacor Minor Seminary in the northern Archdiocese of Gulu were abducted by rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
Father Matua Asumi Alexis, a Comboni Missionary at the New People Media Center in Nairobi, Kenya, told CISA that by Monday evening, there was no trace of the seminarians yet.
“The 44 seminarians had not yet returned and their fate was not known,” Father Matua said, quoting Comboni sources in Gulu, 217 miles north of the capital Kampala.
According to a BBC report, more than 100 soldiers have been sent on a mission to rescue the boys. An eight-year old boy was shot and killed during the attack, the report said.
The abduction of the boys, aged between 12-18, came soon after a six-week cease-fire brokered by the Acholi Religious Leaders’ Peace Initiative between the rebels and government collapsed.
The LRA has been fighting the government for the past 17 years.
“Innocent civilians, especially women and children, are largely the victims of this senseless war,” said Father Matua. “The LRA, led by the now mythical Joseph Kony, are known for violating human rights. Tens of thousands of children and adults have reportedly been abducted by the LRA.”
Father Matua said that the abduction of the Lacor seminarians is, perhaps the largest student abduction since the abduction of over 200 girls from St. Mary’s Girls Secondary School in Aboke, the neighboring district of Apac, in the late 1990s.