Invisible Children, a Non-Governmental Organization that works to protect communities from Lord’s Resistance Army –LRA rebels, is in need of about 75 million shillings to encourage the rebels to surrender.
In a communiqué, the NGO says after two years of silence, the rebels raided two South Sudanese communities between November 5th -7th , killing two people and abducting at least 12 others.
Jolly Grace Okot, the Invisible Children Regional Ambassador, says these are troubling developments in an area long thought to be rid of LRA violence.
She told local media on Wednesday that Invisible Children is taking immediate action and need to raise up to $30,000, about 75 million shillings, within 3 days in order to fully fund its activities to encourage the rebels to surrender.
Okot says the money will be used for printing and distribution of “come home” fliers over targeted areas of South Sudan. She says they expect to raise the fund through fundraising from well-wishers among others. She notes that encouraging LRA combatants to surrender is the most effective way to restore peace in these communities.
She says 79 percent of LRA rebels who have surrendered in the past year cited “come home” fliers as influential in their escape.
Okot said Invisible Children’s staff in Central African Republic is working with partners on the ground to create and print “come home” fliers to be distributed in the region next week.
On 7th November, suspected LRA forces attacked Ezo town in South Sudan, and abducted at least 3 people. The assailants also set fire to multiple houses and looted various unspecified goods from the town.
The rebels reportedly left a message indicating that they will come to Bangalu market this coming Saturday.
The latest rebel attacks in South Sudan are raising fears of renewed support to the weakened rebel movement that has been at war for more than 25 years. Reports from Invisible Children indicate that last month alone, one civilian was killed by the rebels, 41 others abducted and 37 abductees returned home.
Several humanitarian agencies have suspended field work in the area and those neighbouring it for fear of attack.
A Ugandan working with Catholic Medical Mission Board –CMMB, an International NGO in Yambio in South Sudan, told Uganda Radio Network that United Nation has put on standby four planes to evacuate those working with the UN agencies in the area in case the situation gets out of hand.
Uganda and United States military forces have since 2009 been pursuing LRA in the jungles of DRC and Central African Republic (CAR) where the remnants of the militia that killed thousands in Northern Uganda, are suspected to be hiding. The mission was, however, affected by political developments in CAR, where the Seleka rebels overthrew the government of President Francois Bozize early this year.