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Last Updated: Monday, 18 August, 2003, 10:07 GMT 11:07 UK
Kidnap me, says Uganda leader
Ugandan children
Children are often abducted by the LRA
President Yoweri Museveni has dared Uganda's rebels to abduct him rather than civilians after he moved to the central town of Soroti to direct the army campaign.

He was speaking after the army accused the Lord's Resistance Army of killing 13 children whom they had abducted.

However, the LRA staged an ambush 30km from Soroti a day after Mr Museveni's arrival on Saturday, killing five people and abducting 10 more.

The LRA has been fighting since the late 1980s to replace President Yoweri Museveni's secular government in a campaign marked by brutality against civilians.

They were about to hack to death another 20 children when our forces arrived
Lieutenant Chris Magezi
Army spokesman
The government has appeared powerless in recent months to halt intensified rebel attacks.

And local residents told Mr Museveni that the army appeared to be too afraid to take on the rebels, just patrolling the main roads, rather than going into the bush, where the rebels hide.


"I dare the rebels who want to capture power in Kampala to abduct me instead because I am here and [I am the] leader of the government," Mr Museveni told a public rally at Soroti Sports Ground.

Lira district army spokesman Lieutenant Chris Magezi said that the bodies of 13 children, who had earlier been abducted from Soroti and nearby Katakwi, had been found on Saturday.

"They were about to hack to death another 20 children when our forces arrived and they fled leaving them behind and we rescued them," he said.

The LRA abducts boys to become fighters and girls to be sex slaves.

A survivor of Sunday's ambush, Isaac Opolot, told the BBC's Nathan Etengu that the rebels were led by a woman.

He had escaped by pretending to be dead as bodies were piled on top of him.

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