Weekly Roundup December 4-10: Remembering those who have lost their lives in the Christmas massacres
Tuesday, December 14th, will mark the anniversary of the beginning of the 2009 Makombo massacres, in which LRA rebels under the command of Dominic Ongwen killed more than 320 people in remote villages in northeast Congo. It will also mark the launch of Operation Lightning Thunder, the failed 2008 offensive against LRA bases in DR Congo that sparked a massive reprisal by LRA rebels against civilians that Christmas. In remembrance of these tragic events, Resolve is uniting with supporters across the country beginning Tuesday in One Voice: Resolved to Remember, a nationwide vigil to commemorate those who lost their lives in these massacres. Wherever you are, we hope you have a chance to join us in the hope that this history is not forgotten and is never repeated.
The Good: UN peacekeepers in DR Congo launched an operation to increase their presence in sensitive areas of northern Congo in an attempt to prevent a potential repeat of the LRA’s December massacres in 2008 and 2009.
The Bad: LRA attacks in eastern Central African Republic (CAR) have spread since last summer, and the threat of future violence has kept many from tending their fields, says a recent UN report.
The Ugly: The LRA reportedly launched an attack in Dungu territory on Sunday, abducting a 10-year-old student from school, looting food, and causing panic among the local and displaced populations.
- The total number of people internally displaced due to LRA attacks in the Haut-Mbomou and Mbomou regions of CAR has risen to 26,000. There are also 6,000 refugees from DR Congo in these regions, straining the limited resources of local populations.
- “The LRA is a time bomb for the referendum,” warned Bishop Eduardo Hiiboro Kussula of South Sudan, amid rising concerns about the LRA’s connections to the north Sudanese government as the referendum approaches. The security situation in South Sudan remains precarious, and many villages rely on poorly-equipped self-defense militias to stave off LRA attacks.
Northern Uganda and the 2011 Ugandan National Elections
- A Ugandan opposition group, the Inter-Party Cooperation (IPC) coalition, says that the government is assisting the ruling NRM (National Resistance Movement) in recruiting and training a militia in advance of next year’s national elections.
- The International Rescue Committee reports that 98% of northern Ugandans displaced by the war with the LRA have returned home, and fewer than 6,000 northern Ugandans still live in displacement camps.
- Uganda’s Electoral Commission announced that they will not be issuing voter cards to newly-registered voters, despite the protests of opposition parties, who fear this could facilitate vote rigging in February’s presidential elections.
- At a campaign rally this week, Uganda’s current President Yoweri Museveni promised to reward self-defense militias and other veterans of the war with the LRA in northern Uganda.
- A cable from the US Ambassador to Uganda, Jerry Lanier, to the top US Africa official, Johnnie Carson, expressed grave concerns about Uganda’s lack of democratic governance, political repression, corruption, and human rights abuses, saying “Holding a credible and peaceful presidential election in February 2011 could restore Uganda’s image, while failing in that task could lead to domestic political violence and regional instability.”
- Representative Marsha Blackburn (R-TN7) made a statement expressing her commitment to the LRA issue and promising to read and respond to Obama’s newly-released LRA strategy.
- This month the US holds the rotating presidency for the UN Security Council, presenting the perfect opportunity for the US to follow-up on Obama’s recently-released strategy by taking leadership on the LRA issue. If you are 21 or younger, tell US ambassador the UN Susan Rice why you think ending LRA violence deserves more attention from world leaders.