Resurgence of evil as LRA goes on rampage

When it comes to the Great Lakes region of Africa, 2008 was an interesting year. Once again the Democratic Republic of the Congo was in the crosshairs of militias. But one militia was given the chance to sign a peace treaty but has chosen to remain elusive.

Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) troops in action. Picture by Africom.

Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) troops in action. Picture by Africom.

On two separate occasion the LRA (Lord’s Resistance Army) was scheduled to sign a peace treaty with the Ugandan Government. This was to end an insurgency that has plagued the central African country for 22 years. Two attempts to sign the Accord failed.

The first round of talks brought an attempt to renegotiate the accord. The second attempt has led to a series of violent attacks.

At the end of November 2008 the second attempt to sign the Peace Accord had an interesting caveat. If this attempt to sign the document failed then regional governments would launch an attack against the militia to bring them back to the bargaining table. Sadly this course of action was the route taken by the insurgents.

In mid-December 2008 the armed forces of Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Government of Southern Sudan launched a wide ranging series of attacks against the LRA. Although the main base of the group was destroyed during an attack by the Ugandan Air Force it has been made clear that the LRA still had means to conduct operations.

While most people were celebrating Christmas in the region, the insurgent group launched an attack. The Group hit three villages in the Congo killing at least 500 people. Some of those who were killed were actually in Church. It is believed that several people were kidnapped as well. Other towns along the Sudanese-DRC border have been attacked.

One of the reasons given by the LRA for not signing the Peace Accord is that they want the warrants that have been issued by the International Criminal Court rescinded. Senior leaders have been indicted for crimes such as recruiting children to fight in armed conflict.

The reaction by the regional actors indicates that they felt a threat of the resumption of military action would be enough to compel the LRA to return to the negotiating table. This was a gross misunderstanding. Although lacking supplies, the LRA feels comfortable in the field and believe that they can resort to old tactics to regain the momentum.

The United Nations has requested that its peacekeeping mission in the DRC (MONUC) have a Special Forces Capability. Such element could prove beneficial in apprehending the leaders of the LRA and other militias that permeate the region. The fear that the LRA has instilled in the region may be second only to Laurent Nkunda’s CNDP in the Congo. This is a situation that needs to be resolved quickly.

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By Scott A Morgan. The author publishes Confused Eagle on the Internet and comments on US policy towards Africa. Confused Eagle is found at morganrights.tripod.com
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One Response

  1. For a detailed look at Joseph Kony and the LRA, I invite you to see my new book, First Kill Your Family: Child Soldiers of Uganda and the Lord’s Resistance Army, now available at Amazon. See more at the booksite, http://www.firstkillyourfamily.com and follow the issue in detail at http://www.petereichstaedt.blogspot.com.
    Enjoy.

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