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Northern Uganda: Massacre Of Nearly 200 Civilians

Annan Condemns Rebel Massacre Of Nearly 200 Civilians In Northern Uganda

United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan today strongly condemned the "senseless massacre" of at least 190 civilians, including many women and children, in a displaced persons' camp in northern Uganda last week, the second rebel slaughter of civilians in the area in as many weeks.

The massacre in the Barlonyo camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) near Lira "was reportedly carried out by the Lord's Resistance Army," a spokesman for the Secretary-General said in a <" http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2004/sgsm9164.doc.htm ">statement.

"The Secretary-General appeals to all those at the national and international levels who are in a position to stop the terrible cycle of violence in northern Uganda to do their utmost to protect innocent civilians," spokesman Fred Eckhard said.

UN agencies in Uganda are on standby to bring assistance to the survivors as soon as safe passage to the area is guaranteed. Representatives from the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (<" http://www.reliefweb.int/ocha_ol/index.html ">OCHA) and the UN Children's Fund (<" http://www.unicef.org/media/index.html ">UNICEF) are expected to travel to the area tomorrow.

OCHA, which calls the situation in northern Uganda "the world's largest neglected emergency," reported that the victims had been either burned in their shelters, shot, bludgeoned, or hacked to death.

About two weeks ago rebels massacred 70 people in Abia camp, also in Lira District.

The UN World Food Programme (<"WFP> http://www.wfp.org/index.asp?section=2">WFP) stands ready to deliver food to the survivors, while the Uganda Red Cross Society and other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are prepared to provide shelter as the 4,800 people in Barlonyo camp are relocated in Lira district, home to some 120,000 other IDPs.

All children in the area are at risk of being abducted and forced to commit atrocities, as well as being subjected to sexual violence and sexual slavery, according to OCHA, which estimates that since the mid-1990s the LRA has abducted about 30,000 children.

The UN Emergency Relief Coordinator, Jan Egeland, who visited the area last November, called the LRA's insurgency a war against children and said the number of IDPs in northern Uganda has risen to more than 1.3 million.

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