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Central African Republic - Democratic Republic of Congo

LRA raids reported in Central African Republic

Villagers in Bangadi in the north-east of the DRC - a frequent target of LRA attacks - prepare their defence
Villagers in Bangadi in the north-east of the DRC - a frequent target of LRA attacks - prepare their defence AFP/Lionel Healing

Fresh attacks by Ugandan rebel group the Lord’s Resistance Army have left 26 fighters and civilians dead in the Central African Republic, according to officials. The news comes as the Democratic Republic of Congo’s government disputed the veracity of a Human Rights Watch report on an LRA massacre in the country.

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In the Central African Republic, LRA fighters attacked three villages near the south-eastern border with the DRC between 21-28 March, according to officials quoted anonymously by French news agency AFP.

In the first attack on Agoumar, 10 civilians and one LRA fighter were killed. One of the victims is reported to have been burnt alive by the rebels.

No one was injured in an attack on Karmadar on 25 March but at least 15 rebels died three days later after being chased from the village of Dembia by the Ugandan army.

More than 40 people were abducted in the latest raids by the LRA, according to officials in Bangassou, where about 400 people have taken refuge.

Residents of Bangassou held a demonstration against the violence on Tuesday. They claim the Ugandan army is working with the LRA because the rebels have attacked villages soon after Ugandan soldiers had passed through.

Also on Tuesday, the DRC’s Justice Minister Lessa Bambi Luzolo said “no more than 25” civilians had died in a series of LRA raids in the country last December. At the weekend, Human Rights Watch said their investigation had confirmed that at least 321 people were killed in the four-day-long bloodshed.

Luzolo said there had been “no massacres” as stated in the Human Rights Watch report but that a few people had been “attacked in passing” by uncontrolled elements of the LRA.

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