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
TEXT SIZE - +
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

Algerians Vote in Presidential Election

There were few media reports of protests and clashes around the country, but so far no significant violence More

Sharks More Evolved than Previously Thought

The discovery could “profoundly affect our understanding of evolutionary history” More

Pakistan Military Asked to Protect Polio Workers

Request comes as authorities say a Taliban ban on vaccinations in 2012 and deadly attacks on anti-polio teams have prevented thousands of children from getting inoculated More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Google Buys Drone Companyi
|| 0:00:00
...
 
🔇
X
George Putic
April 15, 2014
In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Google Buys Drone Company

In its latest purchase of high-tech companies, Google has acquired a manufacturer of solar-powered drones that can stay in the air almost indefinitely, relaying broadband Internet connection to remote areas. It is seen as yet another step in the U.S. based Web giant’s bid to bring Internet to the whole world. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Ray Bonneville Sings the Blues and More on New CD

Singer/songwriter Ray Bonneville has released a new CD called “Easy Gone” with music that reflects his musical and personal journey from French-speaking Canada to his current home in Austin,Texas. The eclectic artist’s fan base extends from Texas to various parts of North America and Europe. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin.
Video

Video Millions Labor in Pakistan's Informal Economy

The World Bank says that in Pakistan, roughly 70 percent work in the so-called informal sector, a part of the economy that is unregulated and untaxed. VOA's Sharon Behn reports from Islamabad on how the informal sector impact's the Pakistani economy.
Video

Video Passover Celebrates Liberation from Bondage

Jewish people around the world are celebrating Passover, a commemoration of their liberation from slavery in Egypt more than 3,300 years ago. According to scripture, God helped the Jews, led by Moses, escape bondage in Egypt and cross the Red Sea into the desert. Zlatica Hoke reports that the story of the Jewish Exodus resonates with other people trying to escape slave-like conditions.
Video

Video Police Pursue Hate Crime Charges Against Kansas Shooting Suspect

Prosecutors are sifting through the evidence in the wake of Sunday’s shootings in a suburb of Kansas City, Missouri that left three people dead. A suspect in the shootings taken into custody is a white supremacist. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, he was well-known to law enforcement agencies and human rights groups alike.
Video

Video In Eastern Ukraine, Pro-unity Activists Emerge from Shadows

Amid the pro-Russian uprisings in eastern Ukraine, there is a large body of activists who support Ukrainian unity and reject Russian intervention. Their activities have remained largely underground, but they are preparing to take on their pro-Moscow opponents, as Henry Ridgwell reports from the eastern city of Donetsk.
Video

Video Basket Maker’s Skills Have World Reach

A prestigious craft show in the U.S. capital offers one-of-a-kind creations by more than 120 artists working in a variety of media. As VOA’s Julie Taboh reports from Washington, one artist lucky enough to be selected says sharing her skills with women overseas is just as significant.
Video

Video UN Report Urges Speedier Action to Avoid Climate Disaster

A new United Nations report says the world must switch from fossil fuels to cleaner energy sources to control the effects of climate change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released the report (Sunday) following a meeting of scientists and government representatives in Berlin. The comprehensive review follows two recent IPCC reports that detail the certainty of climate change, its impacts and in this most recent report what to do about it. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble has the details.
AppleAndroid