Weekly Roundup October 9-15: Kony likely in Darfur, says ICG
The release of President Obama’s LRA strategy is now just 35 days away, and we are eagerly waiting to see if it will really have what it takes to help bring an end to LRA atrocities in central Africa. News of continued LRA attacks in the Central African Republic (CAR), troubling reports about the LRA’s ties to Sudan, and rising calls for more robust international engagement to help protect civilians from LRA violence mean the release of an effective strategy could not be more urgent.
To help keep the pressure on the Administration to develop a strategy that can actually end LRA atrocities, activists across the country have held scores of meetings with the local offices of their Members of Congress. Sign up to join a local lobby meeting yourself, and ask your Member of Congress to publicly commit to read the President’s strategy and to ensure it is one that can work.
As Rep. Jerry Moran (R-KS1) said when he committed to read the President’s strategy after a local lobby meeting, “While passage of this legislation was a significant accomplishment, our work will not be done until Joseph Kony and the LRA no longer threaten people across central Africa.” Join us in the From Promise to Peace campaign to help make this a reality.
And now for this week’s news:
The Good: This week, advocates in eight more states held local lobby meetings with their representatives in Congress, asking them to commit to read and respond to the President’s LRA strategy.
The Bad: The LRA reportedly attacked the town of Birao in the Central African Republic (CAR) on Sunday, abducting a number of girls.
The Ugly: The International Crisis Group (ICG) said LRA leader Joseph Kony is believed to currently be hiding in southern Darfur, based on military intelligence and the pattern of recent attacks. The Ugandan army does not have the authority to pursue the LRA into Darfur, where they may be hoping to recieve support from the Sudanese government, said the ICG.
- At least five were abducted in this week’s attack in CAR, in which a number of shops were also looted. What makes this attack even more troubling is that Birao, in the north of CAR near the border with Chad and Darfur, Sudan, is a base for the UN peacekeeping mission MINURCAT.
- A new Oxfam report on security in LRA affected regions of DRC highlights the inadequacy of current civilian protection efforts and the need for increased resources.
- Insecurity due to LRA attacks in South Sudan could be a major detriment to success in the upcoming referendum on secession, as citizens “fear for their lives and are more focused on their basic needs rather than preparation for the referendum,” and it is “likely that people will not participate fully [nor be] well informed about the process,” says a group of South Sudanese advocates.
Northern Uganda and the 2011 Ugandan National Elections
- A Ugandan constitutional court dropped the charges of treason against political opposition leader Kizza Besigye, of the Forum for Democratic Change (FDC), who is set to run against current President Yoweri Museveni in next year’s national elections.
- Ugandan police appointed a team of investigators to examine crimes committed during the LRA insurgency in northern Uganda and evaluate the option of public truth-telling to promote forgiveness and reconciliation.
- Uganda’s Refugee Law Project, along with USAID, plans to build a war memorial museum in Kitgum, northern Uganda. The goal of the project is to provide access to information, research, and documentation about the war to promote accountability, as well as community healing and reconciliation.
- The executive director of Human Rights Watch wrote a press release this week calling on the US to take a tougher stance on protecting human rights for civilians caught in the LRA’s wake. Read our response here.
- Check out our newest Voices from the Ground post, discussing a recent religious leaders’ conference in Yambio, South Sudan, focused on the LRA.
- At an African Union summit held this week to discuss the security, economic, and humanitarian aspects of the LRA incursion into CAR, the country’s foreign minister called on the international community to invest more resources in helping the country deal with insecurity due to LRA attacks.