Central Africa: LRA carried out attacks near hunting concession, claims rights group

Monday, July 09, 2012
A Google Map with Central African Republic (CAR)
in its centre 
Nairobi: Human Rights Watch (HRW) today claimed that the "Ugandan rebel group, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), carried out attacks from June 21 to 25, 2012, near a remote hunting concession outside Bakouma, in the Central African Republic (CAR).”

In a news release, the New York-based organization said, “The attackers killed at least two civilians and abducted at least 14 others. The attacks followed killings of 13 civilians in the same area in March.”

“The attacks highlight the continued danger to civilians posed by the LRA. They also raise serious questions about the arrest of 13 employees of Central African Wildlife Adventures (CAWA), a 20,000 square-kilometer Swedish-owned hunting concession, for their alleged role in the killing of 13 artisanal gold miners in a similar attack in the hunting reserve around March 20,” the rights group said further.

The LRA attacks on civilians in June strongly suggest that the LRA and not the jailed CAWA employees were responsible for similar atrocities in March,” briefed Ida Sawyer, Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The government should urgently increase protection for civilians in the Bakouma area and review the charges against the hunting reserve employees.”

In a letter to the CAR justice minister made public on July 9, Human Rights Watch said that according to its investigations, “the LRA, not the hunting reserve employees, probably killed the 13 gold miners.”

Human Rights Watch has called on the judicial authorities to avoid a miscarriage of justice by fully exploring all leads in its investigation of the attack. The organization asserted that protecting civilians from such attacks requires finding and holding to account those who actually carried out the killings.
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