News / Africa

Anti-LRA Campaign Lacks Resources

Ugandan soldiers, who are tracking down Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) fugitive leaders, load supplies from a military helicopter in a forest bordering Central African Republic, South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo, near river Chinko, April 18, 2012.
Ugandan soldiers, who are tracking down Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) fugitive leaders, load supplies from a military helicopter in a forest bordering Central African Republic, South Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo, near river Chinko, April 18, 2012.
Joe DeCapua
A six-month effort to eliminate LRA rebels in Central Africa is being criticized for failing to make meaningful progress. A coalition of humanitarian and rights groups says the joint United Nations / African Union effort lacks urgency and resources.


The NGOs have released a new report prior to a December 18th U.N. Security Council meeting on the Lord’s Resistance Army.

The LRA has its roots in Uganda, where it took up arms against the government 26 years ago. It’s now believed to be made up of a dozen or so smaller groups operating in the Democratic Republic of Congo and neighboring countries. Some reports have said leader Joseph Kony is now based in Darfur and may have the support of the Sudanese military. He and others are wanted by the International Criminal Court.

While M23 rebels have received much attention for their recent offensive in the eastern DRC, LRA rebels have long been blamed for killings, child abductions, rapes and looting of villages.

“On the whole efforts to hunt down the LRA continue to make some progress, but we’ve been quite disappointed in the lack of leadership shown by the United Nations. They put out a strategy six months ago that details a very comprehensive response to the situation that’s exactly what’s needed. And yet almost none of that strategy has actually been implemented in that time,” said Michael Poffenberger, Executive Director of the NGO Resolve.

The strategy includes many components.

“Including a military component that works with the African Union to coordinate regional military efforts; a humanitarian and peace building component that helps develop infrastructure and deliver basic necessities for the communities that the most affected. It includes a component that tries to get LRA members to defect using radio broadcasts and flyers. It includes a component to try and improve protection of civilians in the regions,” he said.

Poffenberger said the strategy has faced a number of impediments.

“I would say the biggest has been the lack of cooperation from the government of Congo and the government of Sudan, in particular, who really have just refused to acknowledge the nature of the LRA issue within their countries. With Sudan itself, reports indicating that they may actually be sheltering some LRA fighters within their territory,” he said.

Another impediment, he said, is a lack of resources.

“One of the big points of the strategy was to show donors where they can be investing to help communities that are being affected by the LRA. And that hasn’t happened yet. The U.N. hasn’t come up with the list of projects that need to be funded. And as a result the donors have not put any new resources into the region,” he said.

The Resolve executive director said the recent offensive by M23 in eastern DRC has drawn attention and resources from the campaign against the LRA.

The NGOs’ report does have some bright spots. It praised U.S. military advisers in the region that are aiding Ugandan troops. It also said there have been a number of high-level LRA defections in recent months.

You May Like

Lesotho Faces New Round of Violence, Political Crisis

Brutal killing of military officer has sent former leaders back into S. Africa where they're watching anxiously as regional officials head in to try to restore peace More

Video US Diplomat Expects Adoption of Srebrenica Anniversary Resolution

Samantha Power says there's broad consensus about killings in Bosnia's war, but Russia calls resolution 'divisive,' backs countermeasure at UN More

UN Report Exposes Widespread Boko Haram Atrocities

Damning report graphically details pattern of vicious, widespread atrocities committed by Islamist militants More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prisoni
X
Heather Murdock
July 01, 2015 8:59 PM
As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage.  Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly 4 years.  VOA’s Heather Murdock reports from Vienna.
Video

Video UK Holds Terror Drill as MPs Mull Tunisia Response

After pledging a tough response to last Friday’s terror attack in Tunisia, which came just days before the 10th anniversary of the bomb attacks on London’s transport network, British security services are shifting their focus to overseas counter-terror operations. VOA's Henry Ridgwell has more.
Video

Video Obama on Cuba: This is What Change Looks Like

President Barack Obama says the United States will soon reopen its embassy in Cuba for the first time since 1961, ending a half-century of isolation. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Hate Groups Spread Influence Via Internet

Hate groups of various kinds are using the Internet for propaganda and recruitment, and a Jewish human rights organization that monitors these groups, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, says their influence is growing. The messages are different, but the calls to hatred or violence are similar. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video US Silica Sand Mining Surge Worries Illinois Residents, Businesses

Increased domestic U.S. oil and gas production, thanks to advances known as “fracking,” has created a boom for other industries supporting that extraction. Demand for silica sand, used in fracking, could triple over the next five years. In the Midwest state of Illinois, people living near the mines are worried about how increased silica sand mining will affect their businesses and their health. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh has more in this first of a series of reports.
Video

Video Blind Somali Journalist Defies Odds in Mogadishu

Despite improving security in the last few years, Somalia remains one of the most dangerous countries to be a journalist – even more so for someone who cannot see. Abdulaziz Billow has the story of journalist Abdifatah Hassan Kalgacal, who has been reporting from the Somali capital for the last decade despite being blind.
Video

Video Texas Defies Same-Sex Marriage Ruling

Texas state officials have criticized the US Supreme Court decision giving same-sex couples the right to marry nationwide. The attorney general of Texas says last week's decision did not overrule constitutional "rights of religious liberty," and therefore officials performing wedding services can refuse to perform them for same-sex couples if it is against their religious beliefs. Zlatica Hoke reports on the controversy.
Video

Video Rabbi Hits Road to Heal Jewish-Muslim Relations in France

France is on high alert after last week's terrorist attack near the city Lyon, just six months after deadly Paris shootings. The attack have added new tensions to relations between French Jews and Muslims. France’s Jewish and Muslim communities also share a common heritage, though, and as far as one French rabbi is concerned, they are destined to be friends. From the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, Lisa Bryant reports about Rabbi Michel Serfaty and his friendship bus.
Video

Video Saudi Leaks Expose ‘Checkbook Diplomacy’ In Battle With Iran

Saudi Arabia’s willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Nubians in Kenya Face Land Challenges

East Africa's ethnic Nubians have a rich cultural history that dates back thousands of years, but in Kenya they are facing hardships, including the loss of lands they have lived on for generations. They say the government has reneged on its pledge to award them title deeds for the plots. VOA's Lenny Ruvaga reports.
Video

Video Military Experts Question New Russian Tank Capabilities

Russia has been showing off its new tank design – the Armata T-14. Designers claim it is 20 years ahead of current Western designs - and driving it feels like playing a computer game. But military analysts question those assertions, and warn the cost could be too heavy a burden for Russia’s struggling economy. Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video In Kenya, Police Said to Shoot First, Ask Questions Later

An organization that documents torture and extrajudicial killings says Kenyan police were responsible for 1,252 shooting deaths in five cities, including Nairobi, between 2009 and 2014, representing 67 percent of all gun deaths in the areas reviewed. Gabe Joselow has more from Nairobi.

VOA Blogs