The Lord's Resistance Army (LRA)
In March 2010, Human Rights Watch issued a report which stated that the LRA had massacred the village of Makombo. The human rights group said LRA rebels attacked at least 10 villages during a 4-day rampage in December 2009, killing at least 321 people. Human Rights Watch said most of the massacred villagers were men who were tied up and killed by blows to the head or machetes. It said the dead included 13 women and 23 children, which included a 3-year-old girl who was burned to death.
In May 2010, the UN refugee agency issued a statement which stated that the LRA had increased the brutality and the frequency of their attacks since 20 March 2010. Between 20 March and 6 May of 2010, the LRA carried out at least 10 raids in Haut-Mbomou Province in the far east of Central African Republic (CAR), which claimed 36 lives. Some 10,000 people were uprooted, and more than 400 fled across the border into the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
In November 2011, President Barack Obama offered a fresh plan to defeat the LRA. The plan had 4 objectives that supported regional and multilateral efforts: (a) increase protection of civilians; (b) apprehend or remove from the battlefield Joseph Kony and senior commanders; (c) promote the defection, disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration of remaining LRA fighters; and (d) increase humanitarian access and provide continued relief to affected communities. Given the necessity of bringing political, economic, military, and intelligence support to bear in addressing the threat posed by the LRA, the development of the strategy relied on the significant involvement of the Department of State, the Department of Defense, the US Agency for International Development, and the Intelligence Community. These partners were to help with the implementation of the plan. President Obama stressed that "there is no purely military solution to the LRA threat." However, his policy document notably avoided any mention of reviving peace talks with Kony. President Obama's plan noted the importance of protecting civilians still vulnerable to LRA attacks.
In the beginning of 2011, the LRA were responsible for increased violence in north-eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, primarily directed at civilians there. Attacks were also directed at those working with NGOs. By 1 March 2011, the UN said that dozens have been killed and thousands forced to flee their homes in the new wave of attacks.
On 12 October 2011, President Barack Obama announced that he had authorized the deployment of combat-equipped US forces to central Africa. There they would help regional forces fight the notorious Lord's Resistance Army and its leader, Joseph Kony. The US forces were not engage LRA forces unless necessary for self-defense, and were primarily to be involved in training local military forces in Uganda, the Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, and South Sudan. The personnel deployed would be sent to regional capitals and other areas to work with governments, their militaries, and the peacekeeping missions in order for these forces to counter the LRA threat and protect civilians. The State Department would oversee the 3 other parts of the plan: to protect civilians, disarm and dismantle the LRA, and provide humanitarian relief to areas affected by the guerrilla militia.
On 25 October 2011, Alexander Vershbow, assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, told the House Foreign Affairs Committee that the deployed forces were expected to remain in the region for months, not years. After the unspecified period, the advisors would report on whether significant progress had been made and then a decision would be made on whether or not there would be a continuing commitment.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|