Abducted Children Forced to Fight


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African Rebel Group Forces Children to Become Soldiers, Sex Slaves
The Ugandan rebel group Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has abducted more than 697 adults and children over the past 18 months in a largely unreported campaign, Human Rights Watch learned.

Nearly one-third of those abducted in the current campaign are children. Many are being forced to serve as soldiers, and girls are often forced to have sex with the group’s fighters. While interviewing 45 children who had been held captive by the LRA, Human Rights Watch learned of dozens of cases where the LRA forced children to kill other children and adults, often by beating them over the head with clubs.

During the abduction campaign in the Central African Republic and in the neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, the LRA killed at least 255 adults and children. Some were killed for trying to escape, others for walking too slowly, or for being unable to bear the heavy loads they were forced to carry.

The LRA, one of Africa’s most-feared rebel groups, replenishes its ranks by brutally tearing children from their villages and forcing them to be fighters. Some villagers who were abducted, but then escaped, said the LRA questioned them about school locations indicating the rebels may have specifically targeted children.

Read details of the abductions »