The Great Lakes Justice and Peace Commission has reiterated calls for the allied forces to maintain their presence in the Central African Republic to prevent the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels from committing further atrocities.
The Great Lakes Justice and Peace Commission which is an umbrella body for religious leaders from Uganda, DRC and the Central African Republic, says the presence of Uganda People’s Defense Forces-UPDF and the American troops in Central African Republic-CAR is still much needed in preventing LRA rebels from committing atrocities.
Fr. Martin Modoue, the Parish Priest Bangassou Diocese in Central African Republic explains that the assistance offered by UPDF and the US army has encouraged defections among the LRA rebels.
Fr. Modoue who is currently on a peace mission in the northern Ugandan district of Gulu says the intervention by the allied armies has begun bearing fruits as the rebel attacks have reduced over the past three months. He says that last month 28 female abductees who include four from Uganda escaped from captivity and are now undergoing psycho-social support in Central African Republic before being reintegrated back to the community.
According to Modoue the new development calls for continued tripartite action by FACA, UPDF and the American troops against the LRA. However, he says the situation has not yet normalized as the rebel still have capacity to abduct and kill civilians.
Baker Ochola, the Bishop of northern Uganda warns that the proposed withdrawal of the allied forces may complicate the war on terror because of the threat of the LRA rebels joining groups such as al-Qaida as a way of survival.
Records from Invisible Children indicate that 28 combatants defected from the Lord’s Resistance Army last month. Of the 28, four are Ugandans while the rest are from Central African Republic.
It says more six defected last week and are now under the care of the UPDF in Central African Republic where they are being offered psycho-social support.
The UPDF spokesperson in northern Uganda Lt. Isaac Oware says UPDF has received 13 former abductees who are now at Gulu 4th Division Army Headquarters. He says the army will hand over the group to Non Governmental Organizations to resettle them after they have been offered psycho-social support.