Submit this form
Home News Videos Music Photos Facebook Twitter Friends Newsletter Podcasts Mobile RSS
Report Says Uganda's Elusive LRA Rebel Almost Caught Last Year

VOA News - June 24, 2010
Joseph Kony
LRA leader Joseph Kony

A new report by the Washington-based, anti-genocide Enough Project says the elusive leader of the Ugandan rebel Lord's Resistance Army was nearly caught last year by the Ugandan army in a remote area of the Central African Republic. But the group says limited assistance from the international community and lack of support from regional governments are hampering the Ugandan army's ability to deal a knock-out blow to the terrorist organization.

The Enough Project says it conducted extensive interviews with eyewitnesses in southeastern Central African Republic, where at least 134 people have been killed and more than 500 others kidnapped by Lord's Resistance Army rebels in the past two-and-a-half years.

The report says in October 2009, the Ugandan army, also known as the UPDF (Ugandan People's Defense Force), sent a team of soldiers, who caught up with a large group of LRA fighters in an area around Central African Republic's border with Congo Kinshasa. The soldiers killed about 25 LRA fighters over several days and captured two women identified as "wives" of the LRA's top leader, Joseph Kony.

A witness in Kony's group claimed the Ugandan soldiers almost caught Kony and killed one of his bodyguards.

The author of the LRA report, Ledio Cakaj, says the incident demonstrates that it is possible to capture one of the most wanted men in the world. But he says the Ugandan army needs far more assistance from countries like the United States to build up its operational capability.

"Support from the U.S. has continued in terms of supplying fuel for the UPDF and some money for logistics. But it is not enough, because they lack things like helicopters and vehicles. They do not have rapid response capacity. So, even when they do hear about an incident happening, it is very hard for them to get there in time. The U.S. has continued to support things like intelligence. But again, if you lack operational capacity on the ground, intelligence cannot really be that useful," Cakaj explained.

LRA leader Joseph Kony has eluded capture since 1987, when the Lord's Resistance Army first began its terror campaign in northern Uganda.

The goal of the rebel group remains undefined. But its activities, including mass murder, abduction, mutilation, and sexual enslavement of children, have devastated parts of Uganda, Central African Republic, eastern Congo, and Sudan. Multiple LRA groups operating in neighboring countries have kept the Ugandan army stretched thin.

Kony and a top lieutenant are wanted by the International Criminal Court on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.

In late 2008, the United States gave military support to a regional offensive, led by the Ugandan army, in eastern Congo. But the mission, known as Operation Lightning Thunder, was criticized for its poor execution. It also sparked violent LRA reprisals in Congo as well as in Central African Republic.

Cakaj says he believes it is imperative that regional governments and the United States do not abandon their support for efforts that can help capture Kony. He says the international community needs to engage aggressively in the hunt for the LRA leader and double its commitment to helping innocent civilians.

"The LRA is always going to be there and always going to pose a threat because of their modus operandi. The way they operate is by attacking civilians, by getting their food. But most importantly, they are abducting young men and women and forcing them to fight. So, they have the ability to reconstitute very fast," Cakaj said. "The LRA issue needs to be dealt with in maximum engagement by all of the actors involved because the wishful thinking that it might just go away by itself - that is just not going to happen."

Last month, LRA attacks in southern Sudan resumed, raising fears that Ugandan rebels may be in an alliance with Sudan's government in Khartoum to destabilize the region ahead of next year's referendum on southern independence.

LRA leaders have said the group once received support from the Sudanese government, but they cut ties with Khartoum in 2002.

Related articles

  1. 'Deadly environment' plus 'political and social' obstacles hinder Ebola fight, Security Council hears (July 24, 2019)
  2. Ebola outbreak declared an international Public Health Emergency (July 17, 2019)
  3. No elections in DR Congo in December without electronic voting machines: INEC (February 13, 2018)
  4. US Warns DR Congo Against Electronic Voting for Delayed Election (February 12, 2018)
  5. UN Report Blames Ugandan Islamists for 237 Killings in DR Congo (May 14, 2015)
  6. ICC Case Against Bemba Wrapping Up as Another Opens (November 12, 2014)
  7. Violence in North Kivu Kills 21, Mostly Women, Children (October 18, 2014)
  8. Kerry Calls on Kabila to Honor Constitution (May 4, 2014)
  9. Kerry in DR Congo for Security Talks (May 3, 2014)
  10. Security Council extends UN mission, intervention force in DR Congo for one year (March 28, 2014)
  11. Death toll in Lake Albert boat accident rises to 251 (March 27, 2014)
  12. U.S. sending more personnel to Uganda to hunt LRA leader Joseph Kony (March 24, 2014)
  13. Death toll in Lake Albert boat accident rises to 108 people (March 24, 2014)
  14. DR Congo Takes Chairmanship of COMESA at Summit in Kinshasa (February 26, 2014)
  15. Bosco Ntaganda Attacked Civilians on Ethnic Grounds, ICC Prosecutor Says (February 10, 2014)
  16. New DR Congo amnesty law welcomed by UN envoys (February 5, 2014)
  17. Colonel Mamadou Ndala Is Killed in Ambush (January 2, 2014)
  18. DR Congo, M23 Rebels Sign Declarations Marking End of Kampala Peace Talks (December 12, 2013)
  19. No 'Peace Deal' With Defeated M23 Rebels, DR Congo Says (November 11, 2013)
  20. Congo Will Not Sign a 'Peace Deal' With Defeated M23 Rebels, Government Says (November 6, 2013)
  21. Congo Army Takes Control of Mbuzi Hill From M23 Rebels (November 4, 2013)
  22. Kabila Congratulates Congo Army for Defeating M23 Rebels (October 30, 2013)
  23. Congo Army Liberates Rutshuru, Kiwanja and Kibumba From M23 Rebels (October 27, 2013)
  24. Congo Army Dislodges M23 Rebels From Strategic Town of Kibumba (October 26, 2013)
  25. Congo Army Takes Control of Kibumba After Fighting With M23 Rebels Resumes (October 25, 2013)
  26. U.S. Sanctions Rwanda Over Use of Child Soldiers by M23 Rebels (October 4, 2013)
  27. Rwandan Support for M23 Rebels Frustrates Attempts to End Fighting in Eastern Congo (September 26, 2013)
  28. M23 Rebels Fired Shells Into Rwanda, Not Congo Army, UN Says (August 30, 2013)
  29. Rwanda 'recruiting for M23 rebels' (July 31, 2013)
  30. UN Security Council debate focuses on peace efforts for Africa's Great Lakes region (July 25, 2013)

Live TV Congo Radio en ligne Radio
Available on App Store
Get it on Google Play

Contact Us | About Us | Édition en Français | French Edition

© All rights reserved.