• April 2, 2013
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The high stakes of withdrawal

With the Ugandan and US operations focused on stopping LRA atrocities hovering close to collapse due to unrest in the Central African Republic (CAR), we joined partners to release a statement today urging the two governments to stay committed to the mission.

“As the international community seeks to address the upheaval in CAR, it is critical that they find ways to sustain efforts to address LRA violence. A premature withdrawal would have devastating and immediate consequences for civilians in LRA-affected areas,” the statement reads. “It gives Kony a new lease on life, enabling him to regain power by initiating new rounds of abductions in communities that will be left totally unprotected and vulnerable to LRA attacks.”

Ten local civil society organizations in CAR held a meeting just this morning to discuss the situation and issued their own statements, which you can read here. Some select quotes from local leaders:

“If these two force leave us, we will fall back in the same situation that we found during the highest times of the LRA conflict.” -Local Protection Committee of Obo

“No one here ignores the intrinsic value of the support these two forces provide in the fight against the LRA rebels of Joseph Kony. From the depths of our hearts, women from Haut-Mbomou oppose themselves to this precipitated departure, as it will lead to sexual abuse on girls and women, and to them becoming porters.” – Women Association

“We pray you to reconsider your decision. After the forces leave, LRA will enter immediately in our city. Because Haut Mbomou is an autonomous district, Bangui does not react to our calls of distress.'” – Radio Zereda

“In our opinion, the departure of Ugandan and American troops from our region wold be a disaster. We, in the name of the religious leaders in the LRA-affected region, pray you to retract this decision, until the day this Ugandan rebel group will be ousted out of CAR.” – Catholic Church leader

Ugandan and US operations — which have been authorized by the African Union and focused on LRA-affected areas of CAR — have made significant progress in reducing LRA atrocities in recent years. However, the Ugandan government suspended their operations last week after the CAR government was overthrown.

– Michael

About the Author

Michael Poffenberger
Michael Poffenberger

Michael Poffenberger is Executive Director of The Resolve.