FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Please Note: Enough Project LRA Policy Analyst Ashley Benner and Enough Project LRA Field Researcher Kasper Agger are available to interview about the LRA issue.
WASHINGTON – Today, Invisible Children launched the video “MOVE” as part of its Kony 2012 campaign that introduced millions of people to the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, crisis. Resolving this long-standing conflict requires further immediate and robust action by the United States government. The Obama administration must commit more diplomatic, military, intelligence, and logistical support to ensure the arrest of LRA leader Joseph Kony and his top commanders as part of a comprehensive strategy to end the LRA threat.
Enough Project LRA Policy Analyst Ashley Benner and LRA Field Researcher Kasper Agger recently returned from a trip to East and Central Africa. During this trip, Enough documented numerous challenges that hamstring current U.S., regional, and international efforts to bring an end to the LRA.
“The Obama administration has invested resources to help end the LRA conflict, including the deployment of military advisors to Central and East Africa,” said Ashley Benner, LRA Policy Analyst at the Enough Project. “But if the current trajectory continues, these efforts are not likely to succeed. To ensure that the mission to end the LRA is successful, the United States should eliminate LRA ’safe havens,’ keep the African armies vigorously involved in combating the LRA, provide additional helicopters and intelligence-gathering capabilities, and urge Uganda to institute a clear transitional justice policy that encourages the LRA to finally stop fighting.”
“We are coming up on the one year anniversary of the deployment of U.S. special forces to Central and East Africa to advise and assist in the fight against the LRA,” said Kasper Agger, LRA Field Researcher at the Enough Project. “The inconvenient truth is that the end of the LRA remains distant. Some progress has been made to encourage defections through 'come home' messages and safe places that LRA combatants can escape to; but the African forces are too few to cover the dense jungles and LRA safe havens are developing in Darfur, Congo, and parts of the Central African Republic where the group can loot, abduct and attack civilians. U.S. special forces should stay on the ground to keep the African forces committed and diplomatic efforts should focus on brokering access for the Ugandan army into the safe havens.”
“The existing international effort is not sufficiently designed at present to succeed in taking Kony off the battlefield and cratering the LRA leadership,” said Enough Project Co-founder John Prendergast. “The U.S. and Uganda need to collaborate more closely in constructing commando operations aimed at bringing Kony and other senior LRA leaders to justice wherever they are. Current battlefield deployments are far from where Kony is hiding, and every day that goes by allows Kony and his commanders to recruit and rearm while international will and resources remain stagnant. That is a recipe for well-intentioned failure.”
For more information about recommendations for the U.S. and international community to ensure that efforts to end the LRA conflict are successful, read:
- Enough Project report “Ending the LRA” by LRA Policy Analyst Ashley Benner
- Enough Project report “Mission in the Balance: Challenges for U.S. Advisors in Helping to End the LRA” by LRA Field Researcher Kasper Agger
- Foreign Policy op-ed “Let Them Hunt” by Enough Project Co-founder John Prendergast
- Huffington Post op-ed “What is Khartoum Hiding?” by LRA Policy Analyst Ashley Benner
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.