The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), a Ugandan rebel group has abducted 296 people in Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) during the first quarter of this year, according to a report released on Friday by two American NGOs.
The NGOs, Resolve and Invisible Children, believe that this is the highest number for a single quarter since the third quarter of 2010. They say they are concerned about the significant increase in violence by the LRA.
The report said the majority of the abductions occurred in the CAR, where the rebels abducted 252 individuals.
The International Criminal Court has already issued an arrest warrant for its leader, Joseph Kony, to stand trial for war crimes.
At least 57 children were among those abducted in CAR, 36 of whom remain in captivity or are unaccounted for, according to the report.
In DRC, the LRA abducted 43 people, the lowest quarterly figure since 2008.
Out of the 296 people abducted, 200 escaped or were released within days of being abducted.
“The majority of abductees were adults who escaped or were released within days of being abducted, meaning they were used as short-term porters of looted goods,” the report added.
The LRA was formed in northern Uganda nearly three decades ago, but retreated to CAR and other countries as it came under military pressure.
LRA Crisis Tracker says it is responsible for more than 100,000 deaths, and a similar number of abductions.