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NEW YORK – Joseph Kony and combatants from the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) may be active in Sudan’s South Darfur region, which could impede a new regional strategy to stop LRA violence approved by the United Nations (UN) Security Council, a coalition of NGOs said today. The groups called upon the Council to ensure the hybrid UN and African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID) has the mandate to thoroughly investigate these allegations, despite objections by the Sudanese government.
“Tasking UNAMID with investigating alleged LRA activity in Darfur would send a clear message that the UN is truly committed to implementing its new LRA strategy,” said Michael Poffenberger, Executive Director of Resolve. “The Council should not be intimidated by Sudan’s objections, which ignore the persistent reports of an LRA presence in South Darfur and raise questions about Sudan’s commitment to resolving the crisis.”
Speaking to the press on July 24, Sudan’s ambassador to the UN denied any LRA presence in Sudan and warned the Council against tasking UNAMID with investigating LRA activity, saying, "Including this issue is going to be an impediment and cause of refusal, which may affect our cooperation with UNAMID and its actions in Darfur. If we truly wish to establish peace, stability, and security then let us discard this issue far away from Darfur and UNAMID.” Reports indicate that China and Russia are using their position on the Council to block language tasking UNAMID with investigating LRA activity.
Sudan has a long history of providing support to the LRA, and as recently as 2010 the UN Group of Experts on the Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo) documented a meeting between LRA forces and Sudanese military representatives in South Darfur. In April 2012, Ugandan government officials claimed that LRA forces were operating in South Darfur and receiving support from the Sudanese government. A woman who escaped from the LRA that month also alleged that Kony was in South Darfur.
“Apprehending Kony and his top deputies will be impossible without a real commitment by the governments of LRA-affected areas and greater collaboration between them, “ said John Bradshaw, Executive Director of the Enough Project. “The UN and AU should convene a side meeting at the UN General Assembly in September to address the primary obstacles of inadequate troops and the inability of the Ugandan army – the only army conducting offensive operations against the LRA – to access LRA safe havens. President Obama should personally attend the meeting.”
The letter also calls upon regional governments to do more to protect civilians from LRA attacks. National military forces deployed in LRA-affected areas of Congo, Central African Republic (CAR), and South Sudan are often too poorly equipped and paid to protect civilians effectively. Mobile phone networks and road systems critical for rapid responses to LRA attacks on remote communities are also lacking across the region.
"Protecting civilians from mass atrocities committed by the LRA should be a priority for every government in the region" said Dr. Simon Adams of the Global Centre for the Responsibility to Protect. "There can not be peace and security in Darfur or anywhere else in Central Africa while the LRA still have a license to kill."
Over the weekend the U.S. State Department announced it was suspending $200,000 worth of Foreign Military Financing, or FMF, normally allocated to support a military academy in Rwanda. The suspension of aid is the first punitive action taken against Kigali since the allegations of support to the M23 rebellion in Congo surfaced in late June. Read More »
In an interview with Enough Project Co-founder John Prendergast, former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who currently serves as a professor of international relations at Georgetown University, describes her Enough Moment and what sustains her work on human rights issues. Read More »
In efforts to address issues of regional cooperation and leadership in the fight against the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, Representatives Jim McGovern (D-MA) and Ed Royce (R-CA ) drafted a letter calling on President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to meet with presidents from each LRA-affected country during the upcoming U.N. General Assembly in September. The letter is currently circulating amongst Congressional offices for further endorsements. In this post that originally appeared on the Resolve blog, Resolve Co-founder and CEO Michael Poffenberger describes how activists can speak up in support of the letter, and use their voices to help end the LRA. Read More »
In a new Sudan field dispatch, “Refugees Provide Details of Attacks in Isolated Blue Nile State,” the Enough field team documents accounts of refugees fleeing violence in Sudan’s Blue Nile state. Refugees recounted the brutality of Sudan’s military tactic of targeting civilians as well as shed light on the reasons for the influx of nearly 35,000 refugees into South Sudan’s Upper Nile state over a three-week period from late May to early June. Read More »
Faith, for many in eastern Congo, is a source of hope in an environment where optimism is often in short supply. Many Congolese consider faith communities to be among the few trusted institutions in a society (and a government) rife with corruption. Read More »
“They were shooting everyone. Women, men, children, and the old,” said Omer, a 28-year-old refugee from the town of Maganza in the Sudanese state of Blue Nile.
“I was in the market,” he recalled, selling goods harvested from his farm. “I saw the soldiers coming and shooting and I heard the Antonovs.” Immediately, he ran from the market back home to find his family. But in the chaos, Omer left his three-year-old son. “The war was too much,” he said quietly. “There was not time to look for him.”
Melissa Harris-Perry, host of her own popular weekend morning news and politics show on MSNBC, gave special emphasis in last Sunday’s program to stories linked to Africa. The topics ranged from the ongoing fighting along the Sudan-South Sudan border, the global response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic in sub-Saharan Africa, and the complicated relationship between Africa and the Americas. Enough Project Research Director Mark Quarterman was on hand in the studio to offer commentary for the latter two discussions Read More »