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.
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

Video Indiana Controversy Points to Divergent Notions of Religious Freedom

Arkansas, North Carolina have approved similar laws that gay-marriage opponents say help maintain their beliefs in face of changing culture More

UNICEF Denies North Korean Measles Outbreak

Agency dismisses Russian media report after government, WHO assurances More

Turkey Seen Taking Harder Stance Against Militant Kurds

Stance comes as President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being seen as moving closer to generals More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedomi
X
Jerome Socolovsky
April 01, 2015 1:41 AM
Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Indiana Controversy Highlights Divergent Meanings of Religious Freedom

Indiana’s state government has triggered a nationwide controversy by approving a law that critics say is aimed at allowing discrimination against gays and lesbians. The controversy stems from divergent notions of religious freedom in America. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Welcome Buhari's Return to Power

Crowds of jubilant Nigerians nationwide have celebrated the return to power of former military ruler Muhammadu Buhari. The retired army general won this year's presidential election with more than 2 million votes more than incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan. Buhari's supporters hope he can strengthen the country's economy and security once he takes office in late May. Zlatica Hoke has this story.
Video

Video Report: State of Black America a 'Tale of Two Nations'

The National Urban League has described this year's "State of Black America" report as a "tale of two nations." The group's annual report, released earlier this month (March), found that under an equality index African Americans had only 72% parity compared to whites in areas such as education, economics, health, social justice and civic engagement. It’s a gap that educators and students at Brooklyn’s Medgar Evers College are looking to close. VOA's Daniela Schrier reports from the school.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Gamma Ray Observatory to Open Soon in Mexico

American and Mexican scientists have completed construction of the world's largest gamma ray observatory, situated high in central Mexico’s Sierra Negra Mountain. The observatory's huge array of water-based detectors will soon start discovering secrets about black holes and supernovas. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ebola Vaccine Trials Underway in West Africa

Ebola has claimed the lives of more than 10,000 people in West Africa. Since last summer, researchers have rushed to get anti-Ebola vaccines into clinical trials. While it's too early to say that any of the potential vaccines work, some scientists say they are seeing strong results from some of the studies. VOA's Carol Pearson reports.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More