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Renewed International Effort Underway to Rid Africa of LRA

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

Abou Moussa, head of the U.N. Regional Office for Central Africa, says LRA threat must be eliminated

The head of the United Nations Regional Office for Central Africa [UNOCA] and Special Representative of the Secretary-General said there is a renewed commitment on the part of the international community to eliminate the Lord’s Resistance Army [LRA].

Abou Moussa’s comments followed a meeting Wednesday of the African Union and the United Nations in Addis Ababa.

Moussa said the meeting discussed common efforts to mobilize support, as well as define strategies to address the threat posed by the LRA.

“The meeting we had was a follow-up to [a] joint mission we had with the special envoy and me in January, where we sought the commitment of four countries, especially Central African Republic, Congo-Kinshasa, South Sudan, and Uganda. Having obtained those assurances, we felt it was time to get together to start putting together the strategy paper, which was requested by the [UN] Security Council in November of last year,” he said.

President Obama sent about 100 U.S. troops to central Africa last year to help regional forces there fight the LRA Army.

Obama said the troops would act as advisers in efforts to hunt down rebel leader Joseph Kony, but will not engage in combat except in self-defense.

Moussa said, although the LRA had been elusive in the past, renewed international efforts, coupled with the support of countries like the United States, the days of Kony and his LRA rebels may be numbered.

“If you go back into history, it is true that it has been very difficult to end this war because, on the one hand, Kony has refused to sign the agreement. On the other hand, we felt that, in the past, there was not enough coordination to tackle the issue. Today, we have renewed effort[s], renewed commitment of the international community to see that this issue of [the] LRA is dealt with once and for all,” Moussa said.

Moussa said the international team in the hunt for the LRA is preparing a strategy paper to be submitted to partners by March 15th on the way forward in the hunt for the LRA.