April 18, 2013 (JUBA) – At least three people, believed to have been abducted by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels, were rescued by South Sudan security forces at its border with Central African Republic (CAR) on Wednesday.
- The rescued LRA abdcutees (Photo: Phillip Mbugo)
Western Equatoria state officials said the southern army (SPLA) serving as part of the African Union(AU) forces and its organised home forces; locally known as ‘Arrow Boys’, liberated a six-year old boy and two young women from rebel captivity.
One of those rescued, Mibinina Kumboringi, is suspected to have been a wife of the LRA leader, Joseph Kony.
Kumboringi told state authorities that rebels abducted her about six years ago, after raiding a village in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), looting food items and abducting several other people.
In a series of interviews with officials, she narrated how, they experienced difficult times while in rebel captivity, resulting into “nightmares, especially torture, sexual slavery and other inhuman” experiences.
During the bush days, the ex captive claimed they travelled as far as Sudan’s western region of Darfur, with a mission to get food and clothes allegedly supplied by Janjanweed militias; a group fighting in the troubled region.
Sapana Abui, the acting state governor has decried the LRA’s “barbaric act”, saying their activities should be halted.
“Many people were killed while several others have been abducted. Many more fled their homes forcing them to go and live in town without food and cultivation,” he said.
The Government of Western Equatoria, in collaboration with the army, the arrow boys and the AU task force, as well as United States military advisors is working hard to protect the local population, he added.
Meanwhile those rescued, Abui said, underwent counseling at a rehabilitation center in the state capital, Yambio, adding that the government was in contact with Red Cross Society to ensure the two ladies are re-united with their families in the DRC.
In March last year, four African countries, with the backing of the AU and the United Nations officially launched a Regional Task Force (RTF), which was established to hunt down LRA rebels and its elusive leader.
The first batch of the RTF initially comprised of about 5,000 soldiers from Uganda, South Sudan, the DRC and CAR. However, an additional 360 troops from CAR, 2,500 from Uganda and 500 South Sudanese forces were in September last year handed over to the regional force.