Ugandan-led rebel group steps up attacks in Central Africa

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A watchdog organization says a Ugandan-led rebel group operating in Central Africa abducted 498 civilians and killed 17 others in the first half this year.

The LRA Crisis Tracker, which monitors the activities of the Lord's Resistance Army, said the attacks happened mostly in the eastern part of Central African Republic and in northern Congo.

Members of the LRA, including leader Joseph Kony, are the subject of an international manhunt that includes U.S. troops.

In the new report, the LRA Crisis Tracker says an order by Kony led to dozens of new child abductions and that a poaching group has returned to Congo's Garamba National Park.

The increase in LRA violence comes as Uganda considers withdrawing troops deployed in Central African Republic from an African Union force.