News / Africa

Report: More Troops, Resources Needed to Stop LRA

LRA commander Caesar Acellam gestures as he talks to the media after he was captured by Ugandan soldiers May 13.LRA commander Caesar Acellam gestures as he talks to the media after he was captured by Ugandan soldiers May 13.
x
LRA commander Caesar Acellam gestures as he talks to the media after he was captured by Ugandan soldiers May 13.
LRA commander Caesar Acellam gestures as he talks to the media after he was captured by Ugandan soldiers May 13.

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua
A new assessment has been released on efforts to end LRA rebel attacks in central and east Africa. The Enough Project says despite the deployment of U.S. advisers, current operations lack resources and troops.

De Capua report on the LRA
De Capua report on the LRAi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X


Enough Project field researcher Kasper Agger spent several weeks in the region affected by LRA attacks. He said in the first three months of this year, there were more than 50 attacks, 9 deaths, 90 abductions and the continued displacement of nearly 450,000 civilians. Agger, who’s based in Kampala, Uganda, titled his report Mission in the Balance.

“I wanted to give it that title to stress that despite progress on the ground we are still far from seeing an end to the LRA. So I wanted to stress some kind of urgency,” he said.

The Enough Project is an advocacy group working to end genocide and crimes against humanity.

U.S. role

In April, President Obama extended the deployment of U.S. advisers, who are helping in the hunt for the LRA.

Agger said, “They have [made] progress on the ground in terms of trying to create better intelligence, improved the cooperation between the armies that are involved, but there’s only so much that these advisers can do. They are not taking an active part in the fight. They are not the guys who are ultimately going to fight the LRA.”

Nevertheless, he said, their presence in the region is important.

“They have reenergized, especially the Ugandan army, but also the army in the Central African Republic. For them it’s the recognition that now there’s someone from the outside who is actually caring about the mission and who is there on the ground working with them. And also they do have some planes that fly over that take photos and are slowing starting to get more information about the operational pattern of the LRA,” he said.

He said the advisers faced many logistical problems in the beginning because the region there in is both remote and huge.

The Enough Project report said there are probably three main LRA groups in the DRC and a number of smaller groups that are launching attacks. As for the whereabouts of LRA leader Joseph Kony, there are many reports and rumors of late. They place him in northern Central African Republic or even southern Darfur.

Bigger, broader offensive needed

Current anti-LRA efforts, said Agger, need to be strengthened if the rebel group is to be stopped.

“First of all, the countries that are involved need to come together. That’s the basis of ending the LRA. At the moment we have a situation, for example, where the Ugandan troops are not allowed to enter Congolese territory and they are also prohibited from entering certain parts of the Central African Republic, especially in the northern part of the country where we suspect that Kony is hiding out at the moment,” he said.

However, he added a lot more is needed than greater regional cooperation. He also recommended many more boots on the ground.

“We estimate currently that the Ugandans, which [are] the most capable force in pursuit of the LRA, has around 800 forces on the ground, which is no [way] near the number that we need. But it’s not only just a matter of the troops, it’s also a matter of scaling-up radio messages, early warning networks and send- out messages to [the] LRA in the bush that they can actually come home and they can be reintegrated. And they can be reconciled with their communities,” he said.

His research indicates many LRA fighters want to leave the ranks, but they fear retribution. He disagreed with those who say the rebel group is operating in survival mode.

“No, I don’t agree to that because it gives a sense that the problem is over. And I don’t want people to believe that the LRA is over. The LRA is a very, very intelligent rebel group and they know the game. My sense of what is happening at the moment is that the LRA is trying to lay low and they do know what’s going on,” he said.

The Enough Project researcher wrote, “The disturbing fact is that the LRA continues to operate freely in the border areas between the Democratic Republic of Congo, Central African Republic and South Sudan. It was formerly based in northern Uganda where it fought government forces for decades. It finally left the region in 2006.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Analysis: Occupy Central Not Exactly Hong Kong’s Tiananmen

VOA's former Hong Kong, Beijing correspondent compares and contrasts 1989 Tiananmen Square protest with what is now happening in Hong Kong More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid