A top official of the United Nations Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUC) says better intelligence cooperation between Uganda, the Democratic republic of Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic (CAR) could stop massacres allegedly committed by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebel group.
MONUC spokesman Madnoudje Mounoubai said LRA rebels have been committing atrocities in remote areas of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and other countries despite efforts to counter their insurgency.
“Money or military troops on the ground that’s not enough…we need more cooperation between the three countries where the LRA is operating -- that is the DRC, Uganda and Central African Republic. Also those countries need to have better cooperation in terms of exchanging intelligence so that they can better organize the operation on the ground,” he said.
Following the latest Human Rights Watch report on the atrocities committed by the rebels, analysts have suggested that increase in troops and cash are needed to counter threats posed by the LRA.
The report accused LRA rebels of killing over 300 unarmed Congolese civilians last December.
Mounoubai said any troop surge will need support.
“The troops they are calling for will have to have mobility. This means they need some logistical support in terms of air transportation so that they can move quickly to operate once the LRA is spotted. Because you know that the LRA now moves in very small groups, they are very mobile. If they can’t move quickly, they will never be able to deal efficiently with the LRA,” Mounoubai said.
Observers also said claims by the DRC government and neighboring countries that the LRA rebels have been contained are overstated.
But Mounoubai said the LRA rebels have been restricted.
“The LRA as a major military organization does not exist anymore. Today you have smaller groups. We don’t know how much coordination exists between those different groups because they move in groups of 20 to 30 people at the most. They are very mobile, but they are armed and because they are armed they can cause a lot of harm on the civilian population,” Mounoubai said.
He also said the United Nations Mission in Congo has about 1,000 troops in the vast areas where the rebels operate, which Mounoubai said are not enough to prevent any atrocities the LRA may commit.