Ugandan rebels destroy radio station

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afrol News, 28 September - The infamous rebels of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) yesterday destroyed a radio station in the northern Uganda town of Lira, using axes. The radio station was protected by government troops, but that did not scare the rebels off.

A score of rebels used axes to smash their way into the Lira station, 'Radio Wa', run by Roman Catholics, and then exploded grenades which set off a fire that destroyed the whole building. All the broadcasting equipment was destroyed in the attack.

Shortly before, the radio's managers had asked Ugandan authorities to protect the premises and 12 soldiers guarded the station during the night of 26-27 September. However, all but one fled when the rebels appeared on the scene. The LRA rebels are known to not spare any lives, not even women and children.

The Paris-bases media watchdogs Reporters sans Frontières (RSF) today "deplored the destruction" and strongly condemned the rebels repeated attacks on the press. 

Writing to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, RSF secretary-general Robert Ménard asked for improved protection of the press. "We ask you to do everything possible to ensure the safety of journalists and media so they can continue doing their work," Ménard wrote in the letter. "The rebels understood how very important the radio station was as the population's main source of news." 

Belgian journalist Els De Temmerman, formerly with the radio station 'VRT', was targeted in July by the rebels. An undelivered letter from their leader, Joseph Kony, ordering her to be killed, was found on a rebel captured by the Ugandan army on 31 July. The threat followed publication of her book, 'Aboke Girls', in which she described the ill-treatment of teenagers forced to join the rebel army.

Sources: Based on RSF and afrol archives

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