African Union to Formulate Comprehensive Anti-LRA Strategy

2336 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
African Union promises comprehensive plan for the end to Lord's Resistance Army attacks on civilian populations in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan and the Central African Republic.

The number of attacks by Lord’s Resistance Army rebels in the Democratic Republic of Congo is considerably higher this year than it was at the same time in 2010.
 
A statement from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs says that between December 2010 and February 2011 attacks by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) have forced 33,000 people from their homes. The attacks occurred in the territories of Ango, Dungu, Faradje and Niangara.
 
49 Congolese civilians have been killed in the attacks, 29 wounded and 86 people abducted. Of those abducted, 36 are children targeted for forced recruitment into the LRA ranks.
 
Radio Okapi, the UN-funded radio in the Democratic Republic of Congo, today broadcast an interview with Colonel Mor Diandame Mbow, head of the African Union peace and security department, who promised concerted continental action against the LRA. Speaking after a visit to Dungu town, he said his office is in the process of formulating a comprehensive strategy that will ensure an end to the LRA once and for all.
 
Colonel Mbow, who visited Dungu with 20 senior African soldiers and civilian observers, admitted that the African Union hadn’t paid enough attention to the LRA threat. He said a report on ways to engage the continental body on the crisis will presented soon.
 
It is not clear how many LRA soldiers are operating in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
 
Two fighters arrested by the Congolese government force and handed over to the Arua Resident District Commissioner last week said the LRA have formed an alliance with another Ugandan rebel group, the Allied Democratic Forces. They said the intention of the coalition is still to overthrow the Ugandan government.
 
Some sources in the Congolese army say this is unlikely. They claim that only a dozen LRA fighters are in their country.  However officials from the UN peacekeeping force in the Congo put this number at close to 200.
 
The UN World Food Program says the threat from the LRA is a reality that the international community has to deal with. In February alone, it distributed more than 1,800 tons of food to 155,000 people displaced by the rebels in Ituri and Ulele.

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