FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Matt Brown, Enough Project, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1-202-468-2925
WASHINGTON – Combatants in the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) need to be supported to disarm and demobilize in order to bring an end to one of Africa’s most brutal wars, a new report from the Enough Project says.
Originally a rebel group from northern Uganda, the LRA has moved to DR Congo, Sudan and Central African Republic, where its fighters continue to kill, maim, loot and abduct. The report, “Too Far From Home: Demobilizing the Lord’s Resistance Army,” calls for the Ugandan government and the international community to design a clear and coherent strategy to help LRA fighters lay down their weapons and reintegrate into Ugandan society.
“While the debate on how to resolve the conflict has fluctuated between war and mediation, less glamorous and cheaper options such as encouraging defections and peacefully engaging mid-level commanders have been rarely pursued,” said Ledio Cakaj, Enough’s Uganda-based field researcher and author of the report. “It is time such efforts are taken seriously, especially with the recent U.S. legislation dealing with the LRA.”
A coherent demobilization strategy would include not pressuring former fighters to fight with the army, handing out amnesty certificates as required by law, clarifying the application of the Amnesty Act and trying to make sure former combatants are not killed while attempting to escape.
Based on extensive interviews with former LRA fighters, the report details the many hardships defectors currently face, including intimidation and conscription into the Ugandan army without pay.
“It is unethical that former combatants are pressured to fight in the same jungles they spent years trying to leave behind,” Cakaj said. “Moreover, most, if not all, were abducted by the LRA, and coercing them to fight amounts effectively to abducting them again. It is also unlawful to conscript combatants into the Ugandan army with no training and no salaries. By failing to train and pay them, the Ugandan army is essentially exploiting formerly exploited youth.”
Read the full report: “Too Far From Home: Demobilizing the Lord’s Resistance Army.”
Enough is a project of the Center for American Progress to end genocide and crimes against humanity. Founded in 2007, the Enough Project focuses on crises in Sudan, eastern Congo, and areas of Africa affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Enough’s strategy papers and briefings provide sharp field analysis and targeted policy recommendations based on a “3P” crisis response strategy: promoting durable peace, providing civilian protection, and punishing perpetrators of atrocities. Enough works with concerned citizens, advocates, and policy makers to prevent, mitigate, and resolve these crises. For more information, please visit www.enoughproject.org.