FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
WASHINGTON – U.S. military advisors have a real chance to end the Lord’s Resistance Army conflict, but only if the Obama administration and European countries help them with more intelligence and transport support, according to a new Enough Project paper.
The report, based on interviews in Uganda, Congo and Washington in December and January, argues that more African special forces and a real strategy to encourage LRA defections, and improved regional cooperation are also needed to end one of Africa’s longest running and most brutal conflicts.
“This is the best chance in a decade to finally end the mass atrocities of the Lord's Resistance Army,” said Sasha Lezhnev, Enough policy analyst and author of the report. “But unless the U.S. military advisors are backed by strong military support and a new defection strategy, the mission will likely fail. A small investment in transport helicopters and intelligence support would go a very long way. President Obama should also call on African allies to supply additional special forces troops to help locate Joseph Kony.”
Led by Joseph Kony, an internationally indicted war criminal, the LRA is notorious for kidnapping children and chopping off limbs of victims in four Central African countries. Launched as a rebel group in northern Uganda, the LRA has since terrorized civilians in DR Congo, South Sudan and Central African Republic.
“If the LRA lies low, it is not because they are weak,” Lezhnev said. “It is because they are strategically playing a waiting game for the US troops to leave, as they have done with other military operations in the past.”
For the mission to succeed, the U.S. advisors should stay in the field for a significant amount of time and be buttressed by greater military, transport, and intelligence support and efforts to encourage defections.
President Obama sent 100 U.S. military advisors to central Africa in August to aid regional militaries in their fight against the LRA. Uganda launched an offensive against the LRA in 2008 that failed to eliminate Kony or end the LRA scourge.
Read the full report: “Ensuring Success: Four Steps Beyond U.S. Troops to Ending the War with the LRA."