Political turmoil in the Central African Republic is having an impact on the fight to end the threat posed by the Lord’s Resistance Army.
Political turmoil in the Central African Republic, where a rebel alliance has forced out the country’s president, is having an impact on another struggle in the region, the decades-long fight to end the threat posed by the Lord’s Resistance Army.
Officials in Uganda, where the LRA long terrorized the civilian population, announced that they have temporarily paused counter-LRA operations in the C.A.R. to evaluate the evolving situation there and consult with the African Union. The United States and other regional partners also are reviewing the situation.
The C.A.R. is at the center of the hunt for Joseph Kony and other LRA leaders. A number of LRA fighters and non-combatants have abandoned the LRA and come out of the bush in the C.A.R. in recent months. While reduced to what is believed to be a force of just a few hundred fighters, the LRA has been operating in the C.A.R.’s vast forests and has evaded capture and justice for years. It has killed thousands of civilians and terrorized and displaced thousands more.
C.A.R. troops have been involved in operations to end the LRA threat as part of an African Union task force. The illegal seizure of power by the Seleka alliance, condemned by the A.U. and international community, affected the C.A.R.’s role in this effort. The task force partners are looking for a way to move forward and ensure continued progress toward ending the LRA threat.
Over the past year, these efforts have made considerable progress. The number of people killed by the LRA has fallen and regional forces have captured or killed several senior commanders. The United States has been actively supporting the operations, providing logistical, communications and intelligence support, as well as a small cadre of military advisers. We are also providing aid to empower communities affected by the LRA, expand information networks, deliver humanitarian relief and reintegrate vulnerable populations.
During the pause, U.S. military advisors are continuing their activities in other parts of the region, including South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and hope to resume counter-LRA efforts in C.A.R. We remain fully committed to supporting the efforts to end the LRA threat and continue to look for new tools to enhance these efforts. Demonstrating our strong commitment to bringing top LRA figures to justice, on April 3, the United States announced rewards for up to $5 million for information leading to the arrest, transfer or conviction of Joseph Kony, Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen.
We call on leaders in Bangui to establish a legitimate and inclusive transitional government and to uphold C.A.R.’s commitment to collaborate with the African Union and region to counter the LRA.