Uganda: seminary kidnappers make contact

 Rebels who abducted around 40 students from the seminary of Lachor, in northern Uganda ten days ago, have finally made contact with the church - the Missionary News Service reported last night. "The rebels have contacted us: we continue to hope and we prepare to hold talks". said the rector, Mgr Matthew Odong. He said that one of the Lord's Resistant Army (LRA) commanders, Onen Kamdulu, had delivered a message via radio, asking for his phone number. Mgr Odong said he was expecting a telephone call, but was concerned that the negotiations "would not be easy." The rebels have set several conditions for the release of the students, he said. .They are demanding that the government of Kampala dismantle the so-called 'protected villages' where the displaced in the Acholi districts, in northern Uganda, are massed together after escaping from the LRA raids. Despite the protection of the Ugandan military forces, civilians in these compounds are often assaulted and killed by the rebels. The students are aged between 12 and 19. Four are said to have been killed. Another four managed to escape. Churches and community leaders have all put out statement condemning the kidnapping. While distraught families wait for news, parishes throughout the region are praying for their safe return. Source: MISNA

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