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.

Strategy

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

Katrina Brought Enduring Changes to New Orleans

The city’s recovery is the result of the people and culture the city is famous for, as well as newcomers and start-up industries More

China to Open Stock Markets to Pension Funds

In unprecedented move, government to soon allow local pension funds to invest up to $94 billion in domestic shares More

Magical Photo Slides Show Native Americans in Late 1800s

Walter McClintock spent 20 years photographing the Blackfoot Indians and their vanishing culture at the dawn of the modern age More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
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.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs