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

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. More

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

Dropout rate at an all-time high in South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during 3-year civil war More

Tennessee Songbirds Fly Coop Long Before Tornadoes Arrive

Researchers say birds apparently alerted to danger by sounds at frequencies below range of human hearing 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.
US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportionali
X
Aru Pande
December 19, 2014 1:45 AM
The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video US: Response to Sony Hack Will Be Proportional

The White House says President Barack Obama considers the cyberattack on Sony Corp. a serious national security matter and that the U.S. will counter with an "appropriate response." VOA correspondent Aru Pande reports.
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid