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Tuesday, 9 July, 2002, 13:36 GMT 14:36 UK
Uganda's rebels attack Catholic mission
Uganda forces in southern Sudan
Uganda's army has been trying to wipe out the rebels
Three teachers were abducted and a pupil killed in an attack by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) on Iceme girls' school in northern Uganda on Monday.

A further 55 were taken after a raid on a nearby primary school.


Immediately we heard the gunshots, we took cover in the church and lay down

Father Ronaldo
The LRA has been fighting Mr Museveni's government for 15 years and originally aimed to rule Uganda according to the biblical ten commandments.

These raids once again highlight the failure of the Ugandan army to destroy the rebels in a high-profile security operation earlier this year against their bases in southern Sudan.

One of the teachers later escaped from the rebels, who also attacked the Iceme Catholic Mission station stealing a satellite phone and destroying several vehicles.

The raids by the rebels are latest in a series of attacks which have left more than 30 people dead in recent weeks.

Most of the attacks have taken place in the Gulu area and near Uganda's northern border with Sudan.

Children flee

The rebels attacked the headquarters of the Catholic Comboni Missionaries at Iceme early on Monday during morning prayers, according to Father Ronaldo from the mission.

"Immediately we heard the gunshots, we took cover in the church and lay down. Fortunately, they did not enter the church," he told the New Vision newspaper.

After looting the mission station, the rebels moved on to Iceme Girls' School. The pupils fled from the school in the direction of Lira, 50 km away.

Some of the girls have reached Lira, but the BBC's Will Ross in Kampala says that others are still thought to be trying to make their way there.

The three teachers were abducted by the rebels and Ugandan army officers told the New Vision that the deployment of soldiers around the school prevented the abduction of pupils.

The army says that the same group of 60-70 rebels then moved on to Ototong Primary School, where they killed 13 year old Sam Adeka and abducted 55 more people.

Soldiers killed

The mission and school attacks followed an attack by the LRA on a military convoy on the Gulu-Lira road on Saturday. An army major and his two escorts were killed, according to army spokesman, Major Shadan Bantariza.

He told news agencies that security was being increased in northern Uganda, particularly around camps housing displaced people.

Children in Uganda
Thousands of children have been abducted by the LRA

Politicians and local community leaders in the Acholi areas of northern Uganda affected by the LRA activity have complained that security is poor and the deployment of Ugandan forces in Sudan have left parts of Uganda unprotected.

Our correspondent says that some Acholi representatives have called for the government to drop its opposition to talks with the LRA and its leader Joseph Kony.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Father Ronaldo on BBC Network Africa
"There is a lot of fear and a lot of frustration because no one can stop the rebels."
See also:

03 Jul 02 | Africa
24 Jul 02 | Africa
21 Jun 02 | Africa
10 May 02 | Africa
07 Mar 02 | Country profiles
31 May 02 | Country profiles
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