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

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs