For more than two years, the Lord’s Resistance Army has been waging a ruthless campaign of terror – largely ignored by the outside world – against civilians in the Central African Republic, or CAR. In a new Enough report, “On the Heels of Kony: The Untold Tragedy Unfolding in the Central African Republic,” LRA Field Researcher Ledio Cakaj describes the rebel group’s deadly but under-reported track record in a largely forgotten corner of Africa.
Cakaj, who recently conducted interviews in CAR, stated:
“The LRA continues to brutalize and kidnap defenseless civilians across the Central African Republic. There is a distinct risk that this widely dispersed rebel organization will regroup. The regional security threat posed by the LRA remains acute due to the lack of international attention to the ongoing violence in CAR.”
Through the accounts of eyewitnesses, Enough documented 57 LRA attacks that resulted in hundreds of killings and abductions since February 2008. The report also reveals how LRA leader Joseph Kony, an internationally wanted war criminal, nearly fell into the grasp of the Ugandan army during the past year.
Enough Executive Director John Norris pointed out that the Ugandan army’s inadvertent near-miss capturing Kony shows that LRA leaders are within reach – if a concerted, multilateral effort were made to apprehend them. But, Norris added, “the operations of the Ugandan army – the only military force pursuing the LRA in CAR – risk morphing into a war of attrition that will further endanger civilians.”
“It is incumbent upon the United States to lead a renewed international effort to protect civilians and apprehend the LRA’s leaders. Absent a new level of effort, the international community continues to do too little, too late to end the scourge of the LRA,” Norris said.