FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Matt Brown, Associate Director of Communications, Enough Project, firstname.lastname@example.org, +1-202-468-2925
KAMPALA, Uganda – The Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, may be the rebel group responsible for Africa’s longest running armed conflict, but its inner workings remain relatively unknown – and frequently misperceived – in the outside world.
In a new report, “The Lord’s Resistance Army of Today,” Enough Project Field Researcher Ledio Cakaj details the operations of the LRA following Operation Lightning Thunder, the December 2008 military offensive against the group.
The report corrects persistent misconceptions about the LRA, such as the often-repeated claims that the LRA is motivated by Christian fundamentalism, or that its ranks are filled mostly with children.
According to the report, which is based on more than 250 interviews in four countries, leader Joseph Kony uses religious and spiritual beliefs to enforce strict discipline among his troops, only a third of whom are under age 18.
“Erroneous descriptions of the LRA as a fundamentalist group composed of drug-addled children led by a madman have led to a dangerous underestimation of the LRA’s military discipline and skills,” said Cakaj. “In order to dismantle the rebel group and apprehend or remove Kony and his commanders from the battle field, Ugandan army officers and policymakers in Africa and the West must have an accurate understanding of the LRA.”
The report ascertains that the LRA is now at a relatively weak point with only 400 fighters scattered in many small groups.
“Aware that the LRA has become a survival vehicle for Kony and his commanders, fear keeps most LRA fighters from deserting,” says Cakaj.
“International efforts to dismantle the LRA should seize upon this
moment to prevent Kony from obtaining support from the Government of Sudan and redouble efforts to encourage defections.”
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.