March 26, 1998 in Nation/World

First Lady Condemns ‘Cowardly’ Rebels

Karin Davies Associated Press

Rebels who force children to fight for them are cowards, and Uganda’s insurgents are among the worst, Hillary Rodham Clinton said Wednesday.

“Nothing so offends any definition of human rights as the use of children as pawns of war, and the mistreatment and abuse of women as a tactic of war,” Clinton said.

The United States will try to end the insurgency of the Sudanese-backed Lord’s Resistance Army, and help rebuild Uganda, she pledged in a speech at Makerere University.

Led by Joseph Kony, who claims to be a spirit medium, the LRA has fought for 12 years in the north, purportedly to oust President Yoweri Museveni, but it is his own people who suffer the most.

The LRA has abducted up to 10,000 children and as much as 80 percent of its troops are children ages 7 to 17.

“The LRA call themselves soldiers, but they are cowards, for only cowards would hide behind children in battle,” Clinton said.

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