Reports from northeastern Congo this week note that recent predations by the Lord’s Resistance army have displaced 12,000 civilians in the region. Speaking to IRIN, civil society leader Aroon Sambia noted that more than 100,000 people were sleeping without shelter on the streets of the Congolese town of Dungu and that the LRA had, “burned a dozen houses, stole sheeting provided by aid workers, as well as clothes. They even kidnapped some people.”
The U.N. peacekeeping mission in Congo, known as MONUC, estimates that the LRA killed more than 1,100 people between December 2008 and January 2009. Hundreds of thousands of Congolese citizens remain at risk. OCHA, the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, has announced that it is providing $12 million dollars to communities throughout eastern Congo, but the LRA’s ruthless campaigns of violence continue and such aid, although important, will not lessen the LRA threat. Humanitarian assistance in the region should be coupled with efforts to dismantle the LRA once and for all, and the United States, which played a role in the recent unsuccessful joint military operation against the LRA, has an obligation to robustly support a new, well organized and coordinated campaign against LRA leadership.