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Ugandan Army Claims Rescue of Children Abducted by Rebels - 2003-07-14

The Uganda army said it has rescued children abducted by northern-based rebels.

News reports from Uganda put the number of children rescued from 104 to as high as 249. The figures cannot be confirmed.

Rebels from the Lord's Resistance Army are believed to have kidnapped thousands of Ugandan youths since the group began its attempt to overthrow the government in 1987. Young boys are often forced into rebel ranks as fighters, and young girls are used for sex.

The army said the children were discovered during operations against the Lord's Resistance Army in northeastern Uganda.

Last month, army officials reported rebels had captured at least 30 schoolgirls during a raid on a secondary school near the northeastern town of Soroti.

LRA rebels say their goal is to replace the Ugandan government with one based on the Biblical Ten Commandments.

The government recently abandoned efforts begun earlier this year to secure a cease-fire and reach a settlement with the rebels.