News / Africa

Some Ugandans Wary of US Decision to Fight LRA

The leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, Joseph Kony, answers journalists' questions following a meeting with UN officials in southern Sudan, November 2006. (file photo)
The leader of the Lord's Resistance Army, Joseph Kony, answers journalists' questions following a meeting with UN officials in southern Sudan, November 2006. (file photo)

Ugandan officials say the U.S. decision to send military advisers to the region is welcome assistance in the fight against the rebel Lord's Resistance Army.

But some Ugandans are wary of the timing of the decision and American intentions.  

One hundred American military personnel, mostly special forces, will soon be helping the Ugandan military track down Joseph Kony, leader of a movement that terrorized the northern part of the country for 20 years.  The first U.S. personnel arrived in Kampala last week.

Minister of the presidency in the Ugandan cabinet, Kabakumba Masiko, welcomes international military support in dealing with Kony’s group, the Lord's Resistance Army.   

“We have always said to anybody who will listen that this [LRA] is a terrorist organization," said Masiko. "If everybody could come with us to firmly deal with [them] and finally finish it, it will be a good thing.”

The supposed aim of the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, is to establish a Christian theocracy in Uganda.  But the group has long been notorious for the extreme brutality of its attacks on civilians -- attacks that include rape, mutilation and torture.  It has also abducted tens of thousands of children over the years, whom it uses as child soldiers and sex slaves.

Kony and three other LRA leaders are currently wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

In recent years, Kony and the LRA have moved out of northern Uganda into neighboring countries, including South Sudan, the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo.  In a letter to Congress Friday, President Obama described the group as a threat to regional stability.

The Americans deployed to the region are not meant to engage the LRA directly, except in self-defense. Masiko says that their role is meant to be mostly advisory.

“It is going to be in the area of intelligence gathering and sharing and liaison," said Masiko.

The U.S. launched a similar support operation to try to subdue the LRA in 2008.  That mission failed to capture Kony and other commanders.  The operation came under criticism by human-rights advocates who said the effort resulted in a campaign of revenge by LRA fighters who killed hundreds of civilians in the months that followed.

While Ugandan officials have been positive about the arrival of the troops, some Ugandans, like this Kampala resident, wonder why the U.S. is acting now.

“I question their intentions, because they have waited over 20 years to come in and help, so I suspect there are other motives," he said. "They could really want to help.  The point is that the help has come at such a point when it doesn’t even make as much sense to us as it would have meant then.  Frankly, we have bigger needs than Kony right now.”

The deployment is in line with President Obama's public commitment to promote governance and human rights in Africa.  The U.S. forces will primarily assist the Ugandan army, which has taken the lead in fighting the LRA.

You May Like

Multimedia Social Media Documenting, Not Driving, Hong Kong Protests

Unlike in Arab Spring uprisings, pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong aren't relying on Twitter and Facebook to organize, but social media still plays a role More

Bambari Hospital a Lone Place of Help in Violence-Plagued CAR

Only establishment still functioning in CAR's second city is main hospital 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.
The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plainsi
X
October 01, 2014 10:45 AM
It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video The Legacy of Jimmy Carter: The Preacher from Plains

It is common in the United States to see tourists flock to sites associated with America's presidents. Some are privately owned and others are run by the National Park Service or the National Archives -- but most have helped draw business and people into the towns and cities where they are located. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there is one particular presidential hometown that is unique in what it has to offer those who make the trip.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests Draw New Supporters on National Holiday

On the 65th anniversary of the founding of Communist China, Hong Kong protesters are hoping to stage the largest pro-democracy demonstration since the 1989 Tiananmen protests. VOA's Brian Padden visited one of the protest sites mid-day, when the atmosphere was calm and where the supporters were enthusiastic about joining what they are calling the umbrella revolution.
Video

Video India's PM Continues First US Visit

India's prime minister is on his first visit to Washington, to strengthen political and economic ties between the world's oldest and the world biggest democracies. He came to the U.S. capital from New York, the first stop on his five-day visit to the country that denied him an entry visa in the past. From Washington, Zlatica Hoke reports Modi seemed most focused on attracting foreign investment and trade to increase job opportunities for his people.
Video

Video Malaysia Struggles to Stop People Joining Jihad

Malaysian authorities say militant groups like the so-called "Islamic State" have used social media to entice at least three dozen Malaysian Muslims to fight in what they call "jihad" in Syria and Iraq. As Mahi Ramkrishnan reports from Kuala Lumpur, counterterrorism police are deeply worried about what could happen when these militants return home.
Video

Video Could US Have Done More to Stop Rise of Islamic State?

President Obama says airstrikes against Islamic State militants in Syria will likely continue for some time because, in his words, "there is a cancer that has grown for too long." So what if President Obama had acted sooner in Syria to arm more-moderate opponents of both the Islamic State and the Syrian government? VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports from the United Nations.
Video

Video Treasure Hunters Seek 'Hidden Treasure' in Central Kenya

Could a cave in a small village in central Kenya be the site of buried treasure? A rumor of riches, left behind by colonialists, has some residents dreaming of wealth, while others see it as a dangerous hoax. VOA's Gabe Joselow has the story.
Video

Video Ebola Patients Find No Treatment at Sierra Leone Holding Center

At a holding facility in Makeni, central Sierra Leone, dozens of sick people sit on the floor in an empty university building. They wait in filthy conditions. It's a 16-hour drive by ambulance to Kailahun Ebola treatment center. Adam Bailes was there and reports on what he says are some of the worst situations he has seen since the beginning of this Ebola outbreak. And he says it appears case numbers may already be far worse than authorities acknowledge.
Video

Video Identifying Bodies Found in Texas Border Region

Thousands of immigrants have died after crossing the border from Mexico into remote areas of the southwestern United States in recent years. Local officials in south Texas alone have found hundreds of unidentified bodies and buried them in mass graves in local cemeteries. Now an anthropologist and her students at Baylor University have been exhuming bodies and looking for clues to identify them. VOA’s Greg Flakus has more from Waco, Texas.
Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.Colonel Steve ‘Spiros’ Pisanos left Greece and came to the U.S. to learn to fly. He flew fighters for the Allies in World War II, narrowly escaping death multiple times.

AppleAndroid