August 2, 2013

Regional Parliament To Debate Kony’s LRA

The East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) will discuss the continued threat posed by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels in its next parliamentary session that begins this month.

This follows a petition by Invisible Children to EALA Speaker Margaret Zziwa in Arusha. Zziwa confirmed it will be one of the items on the agenda in the order paper.

LRA's elusive leader Joseph Kony is said to have crossed back into CAR
LRA’s elusive leader Joseph Kony is said to have crossed back into CAR

She said she received the petition on Thursday from Jolly Grace Okot, the Invisible Children Regional Ambassador.

Zziwa says they will have the next parliamentary session in two weeks time and that the petition will constitute a very important activity in terms of interrogating the information and challenges that Invisible Children has outlined.

In the petition, Invisible Children, a non- governmental organization fighting for the permanent end to the LRA conflict and improving the quality of life of LRA-affected communities, was asking EALA to intervene in the continued rebel threat.

Besides discussing the continued LRA threat, Invisible Children asked EALA to send a fact finding mission to the war-affected communities in northern Uganda, DR Congo and Central African Republic (CAR).

The NGO wants EALA to see how the victims are rebuilding their lives and bear witness to cruel atrocities being committed by the LRA, humanitarian interventions and the efforts to encourage LRA defections.

They also want EALA to lobby regional governments to send troops to support anti-LRA operations in the region.

Speaker Zziwa said they want to ensure that LRA issues are resurrected and brought back on the round table. She said other issues may be referred to the International Conference on Great Lakes Region so that they also look at them in a more proactive way.

A recent report by The Resolve LRA Crisis Initiative, a civil society organization indicates that the LRA rebel group is under pressure to maintain or boost its force currently estimated at 500 combatants.

The report also indicates among others that that pressure from the Ugandan military operations against the LRA in CAR and DRC has contributed to the reducing number of the force as well as breakdown of morale and discipline within the ranks of LRA combatants.

The government troops have since 2008 been hunting down the LRA elements in DRC and CAR where the rebels have been committing atrocities against the local populations.

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