News / Africa

Activists: US Needs Africa Partners in Hunt for LRA

John Prendergast signs copies of his new book 'The Enough Moment' after his call to action
John Prendergast signs copies of his new book 'The Enough Moment' after his call to action
Joe DeCapua

Activists say African nations must come forward and take advantage of U.S. military advisers sent to Central African to help eliminate the LRA rebel threat. President Obama recently approved the use of military advisers to help search for LRA leader Joseph Kony and his fighters.

Monday’s Wall Street Journal features an op-ed piece in support of U.S. involvement in Central Africa written by John Prendergast, co-founder of the ENOUGH Project and actress and activist Mia Farrow.

“I think if it’s only the advisers deployed and absent any other external variable then it will not work. What we need (is) for this military advisory deployment to be the leverage to now get the appropriately trained special forces from qualified African states on the ground in the theater of operation so that the chances for targeting and apprehending, or otherwise taking Joseph Kony out of the battlefield, have a better chance at success,” said Prendergast.

But who?

“Uganda,” he said, “has redeployed a substantial amount of its forces, a vast majority of the forces that they had in the LRA fight, either for Somalia or for domestic security issues…. So we have a real serious imbalance between the intention of the U.S. forces and the reality of the lack of a partner on the ground that has the capacity to really undertake the hunt for Kony,”

Kenya is now heavily involved in an offensive in Somalia against the al-Shabab militant group, which has been linked to al Qaida.

Prendergast said the U.S. has ties with various African militaries and should assess what Special Forces are needed.

“Now that the U.S. has boots on the ground, as they say, we can, I think, have much greater credibility in leveraging those African states to say let’s get the right troops on the ground,” he said.

Prendergast would like to see Ugandan re-involvement, but said other countries, such as Nigeria, South Africa and Rwanda are also possibilities.

“It requires a real look at who has that experience in conducting counter insurgency operations and the training and the troops to be able to deploy. And really we’re not talking about thousands and thousands of troops. We need most importantly Special Forces units that can undertake specialized operations,” he said.


Some estimates say the Lord’s Resistance Army has broken up into a dozen small groups that are terrorizing parts of eastern DRC, the CAR and South Sudan. But Prendergast said there are indications the number may be much higher. He opposes hunting down each group one at a time in a “war of attrition.” He compared to situation to Angola and the fight against Jonas Savimbi and his UNITA rebels and Foday Sankoh and the RUF rebels in Sierra Leone.

“Once they were taken out of the game,” he said, “their organizations crumbled. And I think the same is true of Kony. And I think that there needs to be a real focused effort. I mean the news headlines every month reveal another either terrorist or war criminal being apprehended or otherwise taken out of the game. And I think Joseph Kony should be on that list and we need to go after the leadership and not be fighting child soldiers all over central Africa.”

Post LRA

If the planned operation is eventually a success and Joseph Kony is either apprehended or killed, Prendergast said a threat may still exist for a time from LRA members acting as “gangs.” But overall, he believes the threat would be much less, especially for children.

In their op-ed article, Prendergast and Farrow write, “During its 24 year existence, the LRA has abducted some 70,000 civilians, mostly children. The group has killed tens of thousands and displaced two and a half million people in four countries. Countless villagers have been mutilated – their lips, ears and noses cut off.”

You May Like

Video In US, Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy

Holiday marks date Columbus discovered Americas, but some are offended by legacy because he enslaved many natives he encountered More

Video Through Sports, Austria Tries to Give Migrants Traction

With 85,000 people expected to claim asylum in Austria this year, its government has made integration through joint physical activities a key objective More

Video Kickboxing Champion Shares Sport With Young Migrants

Pouring into Europe by hundreds of thousands, some migrants, especially youngsters, are finding sports a way to integrate into new host countries More

This forum has been closed.
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemeni
Henry Ridgwell
October 12, 2015 4:03 PM
The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video Amnesty Accuses Saudi Coalition of ‘War Crimes’ in Yemen

The human rights group Amnesty International has accused the Saudi-led coalition of war crimes in airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen. Henry Ridgwell reports the group says hundreds of civilians have been killed in strikes on residential areas.

Video No Resolution in Sight to US House Speaker Drama

Uncertainty grips the U.S. Congress, where no consensus replacement has emerged to succeed Republican House Speaker John Boehner after his surprise resignation announcement. Half of Congress is effectively leaderless weeks before America risks defaulting on its national debt and enduring another partial government shutdown.

Video New Art Exhibit Focuses on Hope

Out of struggle and despair often comes hope. That idea is behind a new art exhibit at the American Visionary Art Museum in Baltimore, Maryland. "The Big Hope Show" features 25 artists, some of whom overcame trauma and loss. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.

Video Columbus Day Still Generates Controversy as US Holiday

The second Monday of October is Columbus Day in the United States, honoring explorer Christopher Columbus and his discovery of the Americas. The achievement is a source of pride for many, but for some the holiday is marked by controversy. Adrianna Zhang has more.

Video Anger Simmers as Turks Begin to Bury Blast Victims

The Turkish army carried out new air strikes on Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) targets on Sunday, a day after the banned group announced a unilateral cease fire. The air raids apparently are in retaliation for the Saturday bombing in Turkey's capital Ankara that killed at least 95 people and wounded more than 200 others. But as Zlatica Hoke reports, there are suspicions that Islamic State is involved.

Video Bombings a Sign of Turkey’s Deep Troubles

Turkey has begun a three-day period of mourning following Saturday’s bomb attacks in the capital, Ankara, that killed nearly 100 people. With contentious parliamentary elections three weeks away, the attacks highlight the challenges Turkey is facing as it struggles with ethnic friction, an ongoing migrant crisis, and growing tensions with Russia. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.

Video Afghanistan’s Progress Aided by US Academic Center

Recent combat in Afghanistan has shifted world attention back to the central Asian nation’s continuing civil war and economic challenges. But, while there are many vexing problems facing Afghanistan’s government and people, a group of academics in Omaha, Nebraska has kept a strong faith in the nation’s future through programs to improve education. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Omaha, Nebraska.

Video House Republicans in Chaos as Speaker Favorite Withdraws

The Republican widely expected to become the next speaker of the House of Representatives shocked his colleagues Thursday by announcing he was withdrawing his candidacy. The decision by Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy means the race to succeed retiring Speaker John Boehner is now wide open. VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone reports.

Video German, US Officials Investigate Volkswagen

German officials have taken steps to restore some of the reputation their car industry has lost after a recent Volkswagen diesel emissions scandal. Authorities have searched Volkswagen headquarters and other locations in an effort to identify the culprits in the creation of software that helps cheat on emission tests. Meanwhile, a group of lawmakers in Washington held a hearing to get to the bottom of the cheating strategy that was first discovered in the United States. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Why Are Gun Laws So Hard for Congress to Tackle?

Since taking office, President Barack Obama has spoken out or issued statements about 15 mass shootings. The most recent shooting, in which 10 people were killed at a community college, sparked outrage over the nation's gun laws. But changing those laws isn't as easy as many think. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.

Video In 'He Named Me Malala,' Guggenheim Finds Normal in Extraordinary

Davis Guggenheim’s documentary "He Named Me Malala" offers a probing look into the life of 18-year-old Malala Yousafsai, the Pakistani teenager who, in 2012, was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for her right to education in her hometown in Pakistan's Swat Valley. Guggenheim shows how, since then, Malala has become a symbol not as a victim of brutal violence, but as an advocate for girls’ education throughout the world. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.

Video Paintable Solar Cells May Someday Replace Silicon-Based Panels

Solar panels today are still factory-manufactured, with the use of some highly toxic substances such as cadmium chloride. But a researcher at St. Mary’s College, Maryland, says we are close to being able to create solar panels by painting them on a suitable surface, using nontoxic solutions. VOA’s George Putic reports.

VOA Blogs