News / Africa

Report: LRA Rebel Defections on the Rise

Photo of five people who escaped the LRA and went to a Safe Reporting Site in the Central African Republic in November 2012.
Photo of five people who escaped the LRA and went to a Safe Reporting Site in the Central African Republic in November 2012.

Multimedia

Audio
Joe DeCapua
A new report says the Lord’s Resistance Army killed fewer people, launched fewer attacks and had a higher number of defections in 2012 than in recent years.  The LRA Crisis Tracker project monitors the rebels’ activities in central Africa.


The project is a joint effort by the groups Invisible Children and The Resolve.

“Most of the information that we get on LRA activity comes from a network of high-frequency radios that operate in remote towns in Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo, that are operated by local partners, who basically two times a day call in with any information that they have about LRA activity,” said Paul Ronan, director of policy for The Resolve LRA Crisis Initiative.

The report says in the last nine months, two senior LRA commanders were captured or killed and about 20 fighters left the group.

“What we saw was an increase in the number of Ugandan members of the Lord’s Resistance Army who were defecting or escaping from the rebel group. And this is particularly important because Ugandans make up the core of the LRA. And because the LRA no longer operates in Uganda, every time a Ugandan combatant leaves the LRA they’re essentially irreplaceable,” he said.

Ronan said that 15 of the 20 LRA fighters who defected say they saw or heard messages urging them to surrender. Leaflets are dropped over areas where there is suspected LRA activity and messages are broadcast over loudspeakers attached to helicopters. He said the campaign is one of the innovative methods being used by Ugandan troops, U.S. advisors and NGOs.

In the first half of 2012, about 190 LRA attacks were reported in the region. That number fell to 84 in the second half. However, Ronan said that’s not necessarily encouraging news.

“What we’ve seen actually in 2010, 2011 and 2012 – each of the past three years – is that the number of LRA attacks increase significantly in the first half of the year. So, even though we’ve seen a downward trend in the last half of 2012, I think that if we look at these cyclical trends we should be very much concerned about the safety of civilians in the region for the next four or five months,” he said.

The LRA Crisis Tracker report also uncovered another trend.

“The LRA is killing significantly fewer people than it has in the past. In 2010, it killed 706 civilians over the course of the year and that number drops to 154 in 2011 and then just 51 in 2012,” said Ronan.

It’s not that the Lord’s Resistance Army has a new respect for human life. Ronan says when the rebels kill many civilians the international community focuses its attention on them.

The report estimates there are about 150 to 250 LRA fighters distributed among smaller groups in the region. There are up to 400 abductees, mostly women and children, traveling with them. The groups are operating in the northeastern DRC, southeastern Central African Republic and a disputed border region between Sudan and South Sudan near the CAR.

Besides, killings, abductions, rapes and looting, the LRA is now linked to the illegal ivory trade in Garamba National Park in the DRC.

The LRA began some 30 years ago in northern Uganda. Its leader Joseph Kony is wanted by the International Criminal Court for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid