WASHINGTON, D.C. – “Operation Lightning Thunder” did not end the threat of the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, and sparked harsh reprisals by the LRA against civilians in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Yet, it would be an even greater tragedy for civilians if key states in this region of Africa and the international community lost their collective will to end the threat of the LRA for once and all. What is needed now is a second Ugandan-led operation against the LRA—with strong international backing and operational support, notes a strategy paper released here today by the Enough Project at the Center for American Progress.
“Finishing the Fight Against the LRA” argues that the United States should take the lead in supporting a new Ugandan military operation by providing solid planning, intelligence, coordination, and logistical support—and take greater responsibility for the execution and outcomes of the operation. “Operation Lightning Thunder” was a joint military operation launched against the LRA in mid-December by the armies of Uganda, Congo, and the Government of Southern Sudan.
“The only way to finally bring an end to the LRA’s terror is by apprehending or otherwise removing those key LRA leaders responsible for ongoing atrocities,” said co-author Julia Spiegel, Enough’s Uganda-based LRA researcher. “But in any future operation, the joint forces must make civilian protection paramount; greater resources must be acquired now; and forces must proactively deploy to civilian centers and areas with assemblies of displaced people.”
“Abandoning the mission to end the LRA now will have disastrous consequences for civilians through central Africa,” said co-author Noel Atama, an Enough researcher based in Congo. “Now is the time to re-double and reinvigorate international and regional efforts to finally bring an end to the LRA’s devastating reign of death and destruction.”
Visit the Enough Project’s blog, Enough Said, for updates on this issue.
The Center for American Progress is a nonpartisan research and educational institute dedicated to promoting a strong, just and free America that ensures opportunity for all. We believe that Americans are bound together by a common commitment to these values and we aspire to ensure that our national policies reflect these values. Enough is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, Enough focuses on crises in Sudan, Chad, eastern Congo, northern Uganda, Somalia, and Zimbabwe. Enough’s strategy papers and briefings provide sharp field analysis and targeted policy recommendations based on a “3P” crisis response strategy: promoting durable peace, providing civilian protection, and punishing perpetrators of atrocities. Enough works with concerned citizens, advocates, and policy makers to prevent, mitigate, and resolve these crises.
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