Counter-LRA Mission Challenged by Regional Turmoil

 

U.S. military advisors and their African partner forces are facing increased difficulties in their mission to end the threat of the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, and to capture rebel leader Joseph Kony, because of heightened regional instability and insufficient helicopter support.

U.S. military advisors and their African partner forces are facing increased difficulties in their mission to end the threat of the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, and to capture rebel leader Joseph Kony, because of heightened regional instability and insufficient helicopter support. Intensifying conflict in South Sudan and the Central African Republic, or CAR, is diverting military resources from the counter-LRA mission. CAR has experienced widespread intercommunal violence from heavy fighting between local militias and Séléka forces that captured power in a military coup in March 2013. Neighboring South Sudan is facing its worst crisis since independence since fighting broke out on December 15, 2013 when President Salva Kiir accused his former vice-president Riek Machar of attempting a military coup. The 500 soldiers from the South Sudanese army, who were part of the African Union, or AU, Regional Task Force to end the LRA have been redeployed to South Sudan’s capital, Juba, and are no longer part of the mission. Ugandan forces have been deployed to South Sudan and are supporting government forces. The direct involvement of the Ugandan army in South Sudan risks drawing military assets away from the counter-LRA mission. Ugandan forces make up the majority of the AU force, and Uganda is a vital partner for the U.S. advisors. Regional instability is providing an opening for LRA rebels to avoid capture.

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