Connect to share and comment
Lord's Resistance Army blamed for killing 321 in northeastern Congo.
Kony’s rebellion soon turned maniacal. Feeling betrayed by his own Acholi people, whom he accused of failing to adequately support him, Kony unleashed his forces on civilians in northern Uganda. Soon child abduction, rape, murder, mutilation and pillage became the group’s
To pick just a couple of examples: In 2004, LRA fighters attacked Barlonyo, a camp of people made homeless by the war, and killed well over 300; in 1996, a contingent of rebels raided a girls’ school, kidnapping almost 140 to become sex slaves, fighters, porters and cooks. The list goes miserably on year after year.
In 2005, the LRA was pushed out of northern Uganda and soon afterward peace talks seemed to offer a chance of an end to the killing, but they finally petered out in April 2008 after Kony killed the deputy who had been attending the talks and stopped turning up.
Moves are being made to end the LRA scourge. The International Criminal Court in The Hague has issued arrest warrants for Kony and some of his key lieutenants while in the United States a draft anti-LRA law was passed by the Senate in March.
The Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act calls on President Barack Obama to help protect the region’s civilians, stop Kony’s attacks and help rebuild the areas damaged by the conflict.
In February, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations: “I have been following the Lord’s Resistance Army for more than 15 years. I just don't understand why we cannot end this scourge. And we’re going to do everything we can to
provide support we believe will enable us to do that.”
In the past the U.S. has been willing to offer actions as well as words in trying to deal with the LRA. Operation Lightning Thunder was launched in December 2008 with U.S. intelligence, air and logistical support to a joint Congolese-Ugandan fighting force.
The aim was to decapitate the LRA but the offensive failed to kill Kony and the LRA responded with deadly revenge attacks on Congolese civilians. Hundreds more civilians died, hundreds more civilians were abducted.
Why not just kill Kony? Most observers agree that his death would mean the end of the LRA whose fighters would be lost without their charismatic leader, but it is not an easy thing to do. In spite of their seemingly cowardly attacks on unarmed civilians, the LRA is an impressive fighting force, its skills honed during decades of fighting on the run in hostile environments.
A common suggestion is that some kind of jungle-ready special forces unit should be deployed to track and kill Kony, but that was attempted by the U.N. in 2006. In an LRA ambush, eight members of a Guatemalan special forces unit were killed by the very fighters they were hunting.