A new report says Sudan is secretly supporting the Ugandan rebel group the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA. According to the US-based think tank the International Crisis Group, the Sudanese government is secretly flouting its officially declared policy of isolating and helping to defeat the rebel group.
The LRA is known for cutting off the lips, ears and limbs of its victims. Over the past 20 years the group has gained notoriety for abducting and abusing children and forcing them into military service. Millions of people have been displaced by the war in the north.
Although Uganda’s military recently embarked on a new offensive against the LRA promising a quick victory, the International Crisis Group believes the war will not end soon. Collin Thomas-Jensen is an advocacy and research officer for the International Crisis Group. English to Africa’s Ruby Ofori asked him what evidence they have of continuing collusion between the LRA and the government of Sudan.
“Our analysts on the ground spoke with members of the Ugandan government as well as other sources throughout the region, and through those conversations we learned about the continuing support for the LRA,” he said.
He said it was “very doubtful that Kony and many members of the LRA would be operating so deeply inside southern Sudan without some degree of support from the Sudanese government.”
Thomas-Jensen said the Sudanese government is continuing to provide the LRA with supplies of arms. He said they also have reports of “the transportation and offer of transport of LRA troops along the river.”
He said is it not clear which elements within the Sudanese government are continuing to secretly back the LRA. However, he said, the objective is to undermine the comprehensive peace agreement signed a year ago between the government of Sudan and the rebels of south Sudan which ended the 21-year civil war in the south.
“I think hard line elements within the ruling National Congress Party, within the Sudanese military who have been stationed in and operational in southern Sudan for so long are hoping that this peace agreement is going to fail. And the LRA’s continued presence in Southern Sudan and the continued destabilizing effect that they’re having is certainly contributing to the slowness of implementation of provisions of the agreement in the south and could lead in some part to the unraveling of the agreement,” Thomas-Jensen said.