The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) is continuing to kill and kidnap civilians in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), according to the UN.
In the first fortnight of July alone, the Ugandan rebel group carried out 33 attacks in the districts of Upper and Lower Uele, killing 26 civilians and abducting 144, according to a report by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). Six of those abducted were children. On 12 July, DRC troops clashed with LRA fighters in the area, freeing one abducted child, the report stated.
Fifteen children abducted by the LRA on the night of 14 July were freed a few hours later after local self-defence groups took on the Ugandan rebels, according to Radio Okapi, which is run by the UN Mission in DRC (MONUC).
Since the Ugandan army assisted by Congolese and South Sudan troops launched an attack on the LRA bases in DRC last December, it has been questions whether it was worth it. The operation ensured LRA move is smaller groups which they have tended to run better in the last 23 years. The more fragmented they are more difficult it becomes to defeat them. Even more difficult, now that the LRA are operating in a vast area with no proper functioning government in the Congo.
There have been calls for another Uganda led offensive, an idea highly fronted by the Enough project and a current bill before the US senate committee on foreign Affairs. Just like Vice President of South Sudan Riek Machar warned the supporters of this idea last week, I believe a military operation to finish off Kony cannot be just short lived. And it cannot easily work on a highly disintegrated group like the LRA. But meanwhile the Congolese civilians continue to suffer the wrath of Kony and his fighters.