In a welcome move on May 29, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice called on the Ugandan/African Union mission against the Lord’s Resistance Army to restart operations in the Democratic Republic of Congo. In remarks at a U.N. Security Council briefing by Abou Moussa, Special Representative to the Secretary General of the U.N. Regional Office for Central Africa , or UNOCA, Rice implored the U.N. to take more action to prevent the LRA from setting up safe havens in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
“Instability across the region, particularly in the Central African Republic, threatens to halt and potentially reverse progress in the fight against the LRA. The United States believes that counter-LRA operations under the AU’s Regional Task Force should resume as soon as possible. We welcome the CAR transitional government’s assurances that counter-LRA operations will continue through the AU Regional Task Force. Further suspension of military operations in the CAR could allow the LRA to reorganize and further endanger civilians.”
Ambassador Rice also emphasized the need for further action in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, stating:
“According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the Democratic Republic of the Congo suffered 54 LRA attacks between January and March of this year—the most among LRA-affected countries in the region. FARDC and MONUSCO forces operating in northeastern DRC should renew their efforts to combat the LRA through expanded, more targeted patrols and increased information-sharing.”
This is a particularly welcome statement, as new information has surfaced that the LRA has moved groups of fighters into the Congo in recent weeks. This must not become a safe haven for Kony’s dangerous fighters.
Ambassador Rice also reaffirmed the support of the United States for the regional strategies and missions of both the United Nations and the African Union in Central Africa. Notably, the U.S. has supported regional efforts to combat the LRA and safeguard civilians through the deployment of U.S. military advisers to facilitate strategic operations as well as the legislation and implementation of the Rewards for Justice Bill designed to arrest and convict top LRA leaders.
The Enough Project appreciates Ambassador Rice’s efforts to help resolve the LRA conflict and firmly agrees with her recommendations for the renewal of regional and international efforts to combat the LRA in Central Africa.
Photo: Susan Rice (UN Multimedia)