- February 11, 2014
- LRA Crisis Tracker
For the past several weeks I’ve been spent countless hours staring at my computer screen, analyzing patterns in LRA activity for our new 2013 LRA Crisis Tracker Annual Security Brief. At some point, three converging trends caught my attention. The first was good news actually—the LRA lost as much 20% of its core Ugandan fighting capacity in 2013, a sign that counter-LRA defections campaigns and military operations are steadily weakening the rebel group.
The next two, however, were more worrying. In 2013, the LRA committed a series of massive looting raids in areas of Central African Republic (CAR) under the authority of Seleka fighters from the coalition that overthrew the government last March. This trend is at odds with declines of LRA violence in neighboring Democratic Republic of Congo, indicating LRA fighters are intentionally targeting vulnerable communities in CAR. The third, more subtle, trend was consistent reports we’ve received in the last 18 months that LRA leader Joseph Kony and many of his most senior commanders are themselves often operating in exactly these same areas of CAR.
Kony has long been a master of exploiting regional chaos for his own benefit, so it would be no surprise if he is indeed taking advantage of communities occupied by Seleka troops by looting them of whatever he needs to survive. But these latest reports are especially worrying, as they indicate the LRA may have found yet another safe haven from Ugandan-led, US-supported counter-LRA operations.
The Crisis Tracker brief, released today in English and French, discusses these trends and many more patterns in LRA activity. For those of you hesitant to read another densely-worded thesis by DC policy wonks: fear not. This is a digital, interactive report designed to keep your eyes open and mind stimulated with a mixture of maps, charts, and short bursts of text. If you must, the pdf is available for download in English and French.
The top five trends from the report are pasted below. The full report includes analysis of how many fighters remain in the LRA as well as the group’s sophisticated cross-border network of farms, suppliers, and ivory trafficking routes. It also examines exactly how in spite of the LRA’s resourcefulness African Union troops, US military advisers, and NGOs managed to severely weaken the LRA in 2013.