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

    Hope Remains for Rio Olympic Games, Despite Woes

    Facing a host of problems, Rio prepares for holding the games but experts say some risks, like Zika, may not be as grave as initially thought

    IS Use of Social Media to Recruit, Radicalize Still a Top Threat to US

    Despite military gains against IS in Iraq and Syria, their internet propaganda still commands an audience; US officials see 'the most complex challenge that the federal government and industry face'

    ‘Time Is Now’ to Save Africa’s Animals From Poachers, Activist Says

    During Zimbabwe visit, African Wildlife Foundation President Kaddu Sebunya says poaching hurts Africa as slave trade once did

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

    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.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora