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"Tabliq Trial for May" by Hillary Nsambu ("New Vision," April 26, 2001)

Kampala - Part of the 38 members of the Tabliq sect awaiting trial over treason charges. The hearing of treason charges against 38 Buseruka Tabliq Muslims, who last year refused to ask for pardon under the Amnesty Act, commences on May 29 at the High Court.
State Attorney David Ndamurani Ateenyi, assisted by Alice Ayebare, told Justice E. M. Maitum on Tuesday the State would produce at least 99 witnesses to testify against the accused.
The suspects, through their leader, Musitafari Mulinde, reiterated their earlier stand that they would not ask for pardon.
They said they have never been rebels. But one of them, Jamil Bbaale, told court he asked for amnesty in February and that he expected to be released.
Mulinde complained that they were lectured on amnesty, instead of proceeding with the trial.
Bbaale told court that many of his colleagues would want to apply for amnesty but did not know the procedure to follow.

"Abduction of hundreds of young Ugandans continues"

by Evelyn Leopold (Reuters, April 20, 2001)

UNITED NATIONS - The United Nations expects hundreds of Ugandan children to be abducted by a barbarous rebel group this year, raped and turned into fighters and killers at camps in the Sudan.
And among the estimated 6,000 children abducted since 1987 by a Ugandan rebel cult, known as the Lord's Resistance Army, most are presumed to be dead, according to Mary Robinson, the U.N. high commissioner for human rights.
In a report on Thursday, Robinson said, "This year alone, if there is no change, hundreds of children, both boys and girls, will most probably be abducted."
"Many of them will ultimately perish in the bush, either as a result of the harsh living conditions or at the hands of other captives," she told the Human Rights Commission in Geneva.
The LRA, founded by Joseph Kony, who claims to have supernatural powers, is not the only rebel group operating in northern Uganda, where President Yoweri Museveni is weakest. But it has survived for 13 years, originally with Sudanese government support in exchange for combat against non-Islamic rebels in the south, some who take refuge in Uganda.
Robinson, following a recent trip to Uganda, disclosed figures from a data base the government and the U.N. Children's Fund were keeping on abducted people, which has now reached 26,365 cases. Of these, 20 percent were female and about a third were youths and children under 18 years of age.
Some 123 adults and children have managed to escape from the LRA in the past year, most of whom spent two to four years in camps, she said.
"Most women and girls who have been abducted are taken to serve as 'wives' for LRA commanders. Those who do not comply with the sexual demands made on them are beaten or killed," Robinson reported.
Some 200 to 300 LRA rebels are thought to be operating in Uganda and about 800 in southern Sudan.
Over the past two years Sudan and Uganda have signed agreements in Kenya to stop giving refuge to each other's rebels. Uganda also issued an amnesty to rebels who give up their arms.
But Robinson's report cited no case of children being freed by Sudanese while in an LRA camp. The Khartoum government did, however, help repatriate children and adults who managed to escape.
The LRA is kidnapping children mainly from the northern part of the country where Museveni and his military are distrusted. The army, in a counter-insurgency campaign, has herded thousands of people into huge camps.
More recently, Robinson said the army has set up units to help youngsters who return, despite their crimes.
The LRA received international notoriety in October 1996 when they kidnapped 140 girls from St. Mary's College in Aboke, in northern Uganda, a Catholic boarding school, and marched them into the bush.
An Italian nun chased the rebels and obtained the release of 100 pupils. Some escaped later and told horrific stories about how they were raped and forced to kill other children or be beaten themselves.

Index Page: Ten Commandments of God: Tragedy in Uganda

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