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Uganda31 July 2002

Rebel chief makes death threat

Reporters Without Borders today voiced its utmost concern about threats to the life of Belgian journalist Els de Temmerman by Ugandan rebels. In particular, the organization is concerned about a letter from rebel chief Joseph Kony, found on a rebel captured by the Ugandan army, in which Kony calls for De Temmerman’s "elimination".

In a letter to Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, Reporters Without Borders secretary-general Robert Ménard said: "We are extremely concerned about this murder order, and we ask you to ensure that Ms. De Temmerman’s security is guaranteed at all times, including when she is travelling, so that she can continue her work".

This death threat follows the publication of a book by De Temmerman entitled "Daughters of Aboke" in which she describes the mistreatment of adolescents who are forced to joint the rebel movement headed by Kony, a religious fanatic. De Temmerman, a former VRT correspondent, has felt under threat from Kony since January as a result of her work on behalf of the "kadogo", the children who are forced to take up arms.

Nonetheless, she has stressed her intention to remain in the country. "I will continue my programme in favor of the child soldiers of Uganda. What I am currently undergoing is nothing compared with what these children and their families have been suffering for years," she has said.

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