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U.N. refugee agency: Kony's army attacks on the rise

By the CNN Wire Staff
updated 1:54 PM EDT, Fri March 30, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The U.N. refugee agency warns of fresh attacks by Joseph Kony's renegade army
  • The attacks occurred in two central African nations and displaced thousands
  • Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court
  • The notorious warlord is the subject on an online campaign

(CNN) -- Critics of "KONY 2012," the documentary about a notorious Ugandan warlord that went viral this month, raised two key points: Joseph Kony no longer operates in Uganda, and his Lord's Resistance Army is much smaller than previously thought.

Both statements are true, say journalists who have covered the conflict. But the LRA remains a lethal threat for central Africans.

The United Nations refugee agency warned Friday that attacks by the cultish and vicious LRA have been on the rise, forcing thousands from their homes.

In the past three weeks, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees reported 13 LRA attacks in northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. Most occurred in Dungu territory from March 6 to March 25.

Two people were killed and 13 abducted. The violence displaced more than 1,160 people in the Dungu area.

This year, the LRA has launched 33 attacks in Congo, the refugee agency said.

In neighboring Central African Republic, the LRA resumed attacks after a lull since April 2011. In the 11 attacks documented this year, four people were killed and 31 abducted.

The LRA is also known to have attacked parts of South Sudan. In 2011, such attacks killed 18 people, wounded nine and resulted in 49 abductions and 7,382 people being internally displaced, according to the United Nations.

Overall, the United Nations estimates that LRA assaults have displaced almost half a million people and forced them into lives as refugees.

The LRA, formed in northern Uganda in 1987 in Kony's effort to overthrow the government, stands accused of murdering, torturing and abducting children for 25 years. Kony is wanted to stand trial at the International Criminal Court.

The Enough Project, which works to end genocide and crimes against humanity, says the LRA shifted its base of operations in 2005 to Garamba National Park, Congo, a troubled nation primed to serve as a refuge for armed groups.

The activist group Invisible Children launched an online campaign against Kony and his renegade army this month. The half-hour documentary "KONY 2012" was part of that campaign.

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