FIGHT AGAINST THE LRA
Need to consider long-term development in the affected countries
The Meeting of experts on the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) ended on Friday 14 February 2014 in Entebbe (Uganda), after two days of discussions on the follow-up of the implementation of the Regional strategy against the LRA endorsed in June 2012 by the UN Security Council. The Focal points from different missions and specialized organizations of the United Nations and those of the African Union (AU), NGOs and partners (United States and European Union) assessed matters relating to this issue, with emphasis on the need to strengthen the coordination of efforts in the fight against the LRA.
They also stressed the urgent need to consider, now, the ways and means of long-term development and stabilization of the affected areas, especially in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Central African Republic (CAR) and South Sudan. The World Bank and the African Development Bank provide their support to this initiative, which should allow the construction of economic and social infrastructures in the LRA-affected areas.
Emergency for a return to peace and security
The return of peace and security is a prerequisite for the implementation of projects identified in this important chapter. General Sam Kavuma, Force Commander of the AU Regional Task Force in charge of tracking the LRA, underlined the ongoing military operations in order to achieve this major objective. Despite the impact of political crises in CAR and South Sudan on the actions of his troops, he emphasized that the results of their crusade against the armed group are encouraging.
Abou Moussa, Head of the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) and Francisco Madeira, AU Special Envoy for the LRA, who co-chaired the Entebbe Meeting, announced that in March, they will undertake a joint mission in some affected countries, including DRC, CAR and Uganda, to renew their support to the anti-LRA African Force. They will also meet with the relevant authorities for ensuring their ongoing commitments in the fight against the LRA.
Invitation to defections campaigns
Several actors also increase defections campaigns, inviting combatants who continue to follow Joseph Kony, the LRA leader, to immediately stop criminal activities in which they are forced to take part.
Abou Moussa and Francisco Madeira strongly encouraged them to return home, to join their families and friends in order to contribute to the development of their country. “The LRA has killed, wounded or abducted thousands of innocent people and terrorized entire communities. Women and children have been their main victims. It is time to leave the LRA", they said to their attention, assuring everyone of the measures already taken to welcome them and to ensure their security and social integration.