Nine Ugandans die in protests over rebel massacre

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The Independent Online

At least nine people were killed in violent protests yesterday against the Ugandan government's failure to protect civilians from Lord's Resistance Army rebels.

The protests in Lira came shortly after the army announced it had killed 21 rebels who massacred dozens of civilians on Saturday at a refugee camp a few miles to the north.

Thousands of protesters took to the streets. Smaller groups began burning and looting about 50 homes belonging to the Acholi, the northern tribe from which the rebels draw most of their fighters.

An Associated Press photographer saw police officers fire into the crowd of protesters, killing two people and wounding another five. The mob was also seen beating and stoning people to death.

President Yoweri Museveni, who visited the area on Tuesday, put the death toll from the rebel attack at 84, but local officials and witnesses said more than 200 people were killed.

One protester, John Bosco Ochieng, 32, said: "The government has shown a lack of concern for the people of Lira and northern Uganda."

The army launched attacks on two groups of the Lord's Resistance Army on Tuesday in two villages near the Barlonyo camp.