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

    Self-doubt, Cultural Barriers Hinder Cambodian Women in Tech

    Longtime Cambodian tech observer Sok Sikieng says that although more women have joined profession in recent years, there remain significant factors hindering women from reaching tech potential

    Trans-Adriatic Pipeline to Boost European Energy Security

    $4.5 billion-pipeline will become operational in 2020 and will deliver gas from Azerbaijan’s Shah Deniz II field to southern Italy

    Video California Celebration Showcases Local Wines, Balloons

    Annual festival showcases the region's harvested agriculture, fine wines and offers opportunities to experience the gentle breeze in a hot air balloon flight

    By the Numbers

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnami
    X
    Elizabeth Lee
    May 22, 2016 6:04 AM
    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video Vietnamese-American Youth Optimistic About Obama's Visit to Vietnam

    U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Vietnam later this month comes at a time when Vietnam is seeking stronger ties with the United States. Many Vietnamese Americans, especially the younger generation, are optimistic Obama’s trip will help further reconciliation between the two former foes. Elizabeth Lee has more from the community called "Little Saigon" located south of Los Angeles.
    Video

    Video First-generation, Afghan-American Student Sets Sights on Basketball Glory

    Their parents are immigrants to the United States. They are kids who live between two worlds -- their parents' homeland and the U.S. For many of them, they feel most "American" at school. It can be tricky balancing both worlds. In this report, produced by Beth Mendelson, Arash Arabasadi tells us about one Afghan-American student who seems to be coping -- one shot at a time.
    Video

    Video Newest US Citizens, Writing the Next Great Chapter

    While universities across the United States honor their newest graduates this Friday, many immigrants in downtown Manhattan are celebrating, too. One hundred of them, representing 31 countries across four continents, graduated as U.S. citizens, joining the ranks of 680,000 others every year in New York and cities around the country.
    Video

    Video Vietnam Sees Strong Economic Growth Despite Incomplete Reforms

    Vietnam has transformed its communist economy to become one of the world's fastest-growing nations. While the reforms are incomplete, multinational corporations see a profitable future in Vietnam and have made major investments -- as VOA's Jim Randle reports.
    Video

    Video Qatar Denies World Cup Corruption

    The head of Qatar’s organizing committee for the 2022 World Cup insists his country's bid to host the soccer tournament was completely clean, despite the corruption scandals that have rocked the sport’s governing body, FIFA. Hassan Al-Thawadi also said new laws would offer protection to migrants working on World Cup construction projects. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
    Video

    Video Infrastructure Funding Puts Cambodia on Front Line of International Politics

    When leaders of the world’s seven most developed economies meet in Japan next week, demands for infrastructure investment world wide will be high on the agenda. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s push for “quality infrastructure investment” throughout Asia has been widely viewed as a counter to the rise of Chinese investment flooding into region.
    Video

    Video Democrats Fear Party Unity a Casualty in Clinton-Sanders Battle

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton claimed a narrow victory in Tuesday's Kentucky primary even as rival Bernie Sanders won in Oregon. Tensions between the two campaigns are rising, prompting fears that the party will have a difficult time unifying to face the presumptive Republican nominee, Donald Trump. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more from Washington.
    Video

    Video Portrait of a Transgender Marriage: Husband and Wife Navigate New Roles

    As controversy continues in North Carolina over the use of public bathrooms by transgender individuals, personal struggles with gender identity that were once secret are now coming to light. VOA’s Tina Trinh explored the ramifications for one couple as part of trans.formation, a series of stories on transgender issues.
    Video

    Video Amerikan Hero Flips Stereotype of Middle Eastern Character

    An Iranian American comedian is hoping to connect with American audiences through a film that inverts some of Hollywood's stereotypes about Middle Eastern characters. Sama Dizayee reports.
    Video

    Video Budding Young Inventors Tackle City's Problems with 3-D Printing

    Every city has problems, and local officials and politicians are often frustrated by their inability to solve them. But surprising solutions can come from unexpected places. Students in Baltimore. Maryland, took up the challenge to solve problems they identified in their city, and came up with projects and products to make a difference. VOA's June Soh has more on a digital fabrication competition primarily focused on 3-D design and printing. Carol Pearson narrates.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora