Evidence is mounting that Rwanda is supporting the new rebellion in eastern Congo, the M23, with recruits, weapons, and ammunition. The U.N., U.S., and U.K. should immediately make public their understanding of the role of Rwanda in the conflict in eastern Congo and the extent of their bilateral and multilateral relations with that country. Read More »
Enacted in 2000, Uganda’s Amnesty Act has been a helpful tools over the past decade in cutting down the size of the Lord’s Resistance Army. It offered exemption from criminal prosecution for returning rebels, who abandoned the rebellion and handed over their arms. To date more than 26,000 rebels have received a Certificate of Amnesty, enabling them to defect without fear of prosecution and resettle in their communities with government assistance. As of this week, this is no longer an option. Read More »
They were all drawn to Congo advocacy in different ways, but Portland-based activists Amanda Ulrich, Alysha Atma, and Robert Hadley recently joined forces to convince their Oregon representatives in the U.S. Congress to take a stand to promote peace in Congo. In this guest post they describe what it took to pull off their recent advocacy success. Read More »
Two mineral trading companies have had their activities suspended by the Congolese government for violating a new Congolese law that requires companies to make sure they are only purchasing traceable, clean minerals. Chinese-owned companies TTT Mining (exporting as CMM) and Huaying Trading Company, based in eastern Congo’s North Kivu province, were purchasing minerals without carrying out supply chain due diligence. Read More »
In late March and April 2012, I traveled to areas affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army in the Central African Republic to take a closer look at the ongoing military and non-military efforts by the U.S. advisors and the national armies in the region in their fight to end the Lord’s Resistance Army. Today the Enough Project published a report, a video, and a slideshow based on the research. Read More »
WASHINGTON – U.S. military advisors sent to East and Central Africa to help end the Lord’s Resistance Army conflict have had some success, but need more support in order for the mission to accomplish its goals of helping to apprehend LRA leader Joseph Kony and his top deputies and disband the group, according to a new Enough Project report.
"The mission of the U.S. troops will fail in its objective of capturing Kony and ending the LRA unless some serious enhancements are added to the overall effort," said John Prendergast, Enough Project co-founder. "Gaining access to the areas where Kony might be, increasing the number of African special forces focusing on Kony's capture, adding new African forces to protect civilians, and providing transport helicopters are all necessary prerequisites for success. What a waste of taxpayers' money it will have been to send U.S. forces to the region and then not have ensured that sufficient elements are in place for their mission to succeed."
Started in Uganda more than 25 years ago, the LRA, led by wanted war criminal Joseph Kony, preys on villages in the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan, and the Central African Republic. Recent reports suggest the LRA may be in or near the Darfur region of Sudan, and could migrate to Chad. Last week, Uganda captured senior LRA commander Caesar Achellam in CAR.
“The resent capture of high ranking LRA commander Caesar Acellam is a major step in the quest to end the LRA and is likely to provide vital intelligence about the rebel group. The capture creates a unique window of opportunity that could see the final end of LRA provided that military and non-military pressure is increased considerably,” said Kasper Agger, Enough Project LRA field researcher and author of the report. “The time for debate is over. Policy makers across the region and internationally must take the necessary steps to end the continued suffering of civilians who pay the ultimate price for the horrible atrocities committed by the LRA.”
Ugandan troops pursuing the LRA must be granted access to all areas of CAR, South Sudan and Congo, and the report urges President Obama to press Congolese President Kabila to allow access for troops in pursuit of the LRA. U.S. advisors should also be allowed to work further from their bases to enable them to provide more effective training to regional armies, the report said.
“The disturbing fact is that the LRA continues to operate freely in the border areas of Congo, South Sudan and CAR,” said Agger. “Several commentators and reports have indicated that LRA is in ‘survival mode.’ However, we have found that the LRA is able to move freely in the border region, has increased its area of operation and continues to be responsible for looting, attacks and abductions in Central Africa.”
The report calls for an increase in civilian protection capacity, enhanced efforts to encourage the defections of LRA fighters, and improved roads and infrastructure in the region as ways to end the LRA and the human suffering the group has caused.
The U.S. military advisors deployed against Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army in central and east Africa are starting to make progress in tracking the group, but serious challenges remain to make the mission a success. To assess both the progress and challenges of ongoing efforts to end the LRA, Enough Project LRA researcher Kasper Agger travelled to the Central African Republic and reports on the findings from his trip, along with an accompanying video and photo slideshow.
As International Criminal Court Chief Prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo’s tenure comes to an end in June and on the heels of developmentsin high-profile cases testing international justice mechanisms, it’s an opportune time to reflect on the ICC’s first decade. At a recent event hosted by the International Peace Institute in New York, it was a unique occasion that Moreno-Ocampo led the discussion of lessons learned and challenges that lie ahead. Read More »