The Lord’s Resistance Army led by notorious leader Joseph Kony may have been weakened in the recent years but it still poses a threat to security in the central African region, according to a report authored by the LRA Crisis Tracker project.
The LRA Crisis Tracker is a real-time mapping platform and data collection system created to bring an unprecedented level of transparency to the atrocities of the Lord’s Resistance Army.
The LRA, which began its activities in Uganda in the late 1980s but is currently operating in the north eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and the Central African Republic (CAR), is still lethal.
Adam Finck, the international programs director of Invisible Children, one of the developers of the project, stated, “In the last nine months, two senior LRA commanders have been captured or killed, and at least 19 Ugandan fighters have left the LRA.”
“Only 150-250 fighters are thought to remain in the LRA, so we are hopeful that this progress will help prevent future attacks on civilians,” Finck added.
Paul Ronan, the director of policy at The Resolve, the other developer of the LRA Crisis Tracker project, said, “UN peacekeepers in Congo and troops authorized by the African Union in CAR must do more to protect civilians in the coming months to avoid a repeat of the past.”
“In the meantime, donors should urgently support cost-effective projects that are proven to keep civilians safer, such as expanding mobile phone networks and improving roads,” Ronan added.
“LRA groups operating outside the US military and Ugandan area of influence in CAR are wreaking havoc on civilians… They are attacking communities with impunity, knowing that there are no protection forces able to stop them,” he added.
In recent months, the Ugandan military, US military advisers, and civil society organizations have attempted to encourage LRA rebels to leave the group by dropping leaflets and sending messages to them via FM radio and helicopter-mounted speakers.
In its long and bloody history, the LRA has mutilated civilians and abducted children to use as sex slaves, soldiers, and porters.