News & Analysis Blog Posts
Today, we released a new report documenting Sudanese support to the LRA from October 2009 until at least February 2013. You can download it here in full. The report shows that for the last four years the Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) allowed LRA fighters – including Joseph Kony himself – to periodically use the Kafia Kingi enclave as a safe haven from which to avoid pursuing troops.
Kafia Kingi is a territory straddling the borders of Sudan, South Sudan, and Central African Republic. It is claimed by both Sudan and South Sudan but currently controlled by Sudan. Ugandan-led forces pursuing Kony, authorized by the African Union, are not allowed access to the area.
The information in the report stems mostly from the testimonies of eight different LRA defectors who confirmed LRA movements into Kafia Kingi. Five of those defectors confirmed that LRA fighters met with SAF personnel near the SAF garrison at Dafak in Kafia Kingi. SAF personnel also provided LRA forces with limited material support, largely in the form of basic medicine and food supplies. The SAF previously provided arms, training, and safe haven to the LRA from 1994 until 2004, but their quiet renewal of support since 2009 has gone largely undocumented by the international community.
The report also includes satellite imagery showing the likely location of Joseph Kony’s recent camp within the enclave. Matching intelligence shared by LRA defectors, the imagery shows the camp was established in late 2011 along the banks of the Umbelasha River and then abandoned between February and March of 2013.
Support of any kind from Sudan to the LRA presents a serious threat to the success of current efforts to end LRA violence in the region, which has now stretched nearly three decades. However, the news in the report isn’t all bad. Significantly, no evidence has yet surfaced suggesting Sudan has provided new arms to the LRA. Moreover, the fact that the LRA was allowed to operate from disputed territory — with very limited evidence of their movement into Sudan proper — suggests that the Sudanese may be opting to keep Kony at arm’s length.
This silver lining underscores the importance of diplomatic efforts to prevent further support from flowing to Kony from the Sudanese government. In the report, we recommend that the African Union take the lead in negotiating directly with Sudan to see that happen, with support from governments of LRA-affected countries, the United Nations, and other concerned members of the international community such as the United States.
Our thanks go out to partners at Invisible Children and Enough Project, who co-produced the report and provided invaluable input, as well as to Amnesty International USA and DigitalGlobe for providing the satellite imagery and analysis. And as always, we are grateful to all of those who shared their stories with me and other researchers in the hopes that it would make a difference.
- Paul Ronan
The report we released today used a range of sources to confirm the LRA’s movement into Sudanese-controlled territory and Sudan’s renewed support for the rebel group. However, the source likely to generate the most attention is satellite imagery analysis.
Satellite imagery and other remote sensing technologies are being increasingly adopted for human rights purposes. Efforts being undertaken by the Satellite Sentinel Project — tracking atrocities in Sudan — and Amnesty International USA’s Science and Human Rights team — such as this imagery from Aleppo, Syria– have been particularly pioneering in this regard.
Our use of satellite imagery showing the probable location of LRA leader Joseph Kony’s recent camp in Sudanese-controlled territory is likely to raise a number of questions. How did we locate the camp? Why are we confident it is actually the LRA’s camp, where Kony is thought to have resided? And how did we get the imagery?
To be credible, satellite imagery analysis usually needs to be paired with other sources of information.
In our case, a 2010 UN report documented the LRA’s first incursion into a Sudanese-controlled area known as the Kafia Kingi enclave, which took place in October 2009 and included a meeting with Sudanese military officials near their garrison near the village of Dafak. In 2012, we received new reports from LRA defectors and other sources which indicated the LRA had subsequently established a camp approximately 8-10 kilometers south of the Dafak garrison. In December of 2012, we approached experts at Amnesty International USA with this information, and they offered to purchase imagery analysis of the area from DigitalGlobe, a commercial provider of satellite imagery and analysis.
DigitalGlobe analysts had identified the likely location of the Dafak garrison in previous analysis, and it matched public reports and our own field research. Civilians displaced by the LRA’s incursion into the area had even helped my teammate Paul draw a rough map showing the Dafak garrison and LRA camps.
DigitalGlobe’s analysis of a 100 square kilometer area around the Dafak garrison, shared with us on January 10, showed that some time between 2009 and 2011, a camp with four tents was established approximately 8.7 kilometers south of the garrison. Several cultivated plots of land also emerged approximately 3.6 kilometers south of the garrison. Both had been abandoned by early 2013. Though one or both of these may have been created by the LRA, our research had indicated a much larger LRA presence than such a small camp could shelter, so we considered it inconclusive.
Then, in February and March, we received further reports with new details suggesting that as later waves of LRA members arrived in Kafia Kingi, an LRA encampment had been established further southwest of the garrison, perhaps 15-20 kilometers away, near a river likely to be the Umbelasha. We again approached Amnesty International USA, who generously underwrote further imagery analysis that DigitalGlobe conducted.
This time, we were confident we found what we were looking for.
Imagery we received on April 4th clearly showed the emergence of a camp along the banks of the Umbelasha River, 17 kilometers southwest of the Dafak garrison. No human activity was visible in the area until November 2011, when the imagery showed burned grass, a common precursor for planting crops. In the next imagery available, from March 2012, semi-permanent structures had been built and there was clear delineation of farmland with crops planted that matched LRA defector reports. The camp reached peak activity in December of 2012, before being abandoned some time between February and March 2013, again matching information from multiple sources.
As for LRA leader Joseph Kony, several LRA defectors had testified that he first moved into Kafia Kingi in late 2010. After a short time there, during which some of his deputies met again with Sudanese officials, he reportedly moved back into Central African Republic before returning again to Kafia Kingi in late 2011. This time frame corresponds with the initial signs of the encampment 17 kilometers southwest of Dafak. Our research suggested Kony likely stayed at the LRA’s encampment in Kafia Kingi for significant portions of 2012. None of our research has indicated there was more than one major LRA camp complex in the enclave, indicating that the one we identified was likely where Kony stayed.
Other knowledgeable sources have since confirmed that the camp we located in Sudanese-controlled territory has also been identified by Ugandan military officials — likely with assistance from their US partners — as likely to be Kony’s recent camp.
Is any of this bullet proof? No. Nor has every piece of information we received about LRA presence in Sudanese-controlled territory over the past three years matched up perfectly, though faulty memories and the difficulty of gaining access to these areas makes that all but inevitable. However, we received enough credible information from a range of independent sources to give us confidence in our report’s findings, including those derived from satellite imagery analysis.
Now that the report is published and the information is public, we will be turning our attention toward galvanizing international action to ensure Sudan’s support to the LRA is now definitively ended. In the meantime, we owe a huge debt of gratitude to Amnesty International USA and DigitalGlobe for their support for this effort.
Earlier today, the US Ambassador for Global Criminal Justice Stephen Rapp announced that LRA leaders Joseph Kony, Dominic Ongwen, and Okot Odhiambio – as well as Rwandan rebel leader Sylvestre Madacumura – are being added to the US War Crimes Rewards (WCR) program, authorizing a reward of up to $5 million to anyone who provides information leading to their arrest. Notably, the announcement was made possible by the passage of legislation sponsored by then-Senator Kerry (D-MA) and Representative Ed Royce (R-CA); it was the last legislation Kerry sponsored that passed before he became US Secretary of State.
This new tool could prove critical for efforts to bring LRA commanders to justice and end the group’s atrocities, though its implementation does carry some risks. The program also only works if there is an entity that can act on tip-offs received; in other words, if US and Ugandan forces withdraw from operations to pursue the LRA as reports indicate they may, the program will be largely toothless.
In this post, we discuss whether the WCR program can have a role in securing the arrest of Kony and his two deputies, and the details of how it will be implemented. You can also find more information on the website of the program itself.
What is “War Crimes Rewards” and “Rewards for Justice?”
A program called “Rewards for Justice” was first established in 1984 targeting foreign terrorists who pose a threat to the United States. The State Department later expanded the program by adding “War Crimes Rewards” in 1998 to help track down fugitives wanted for war crimes. It can provide rewards of up to $5 million for information that leads to the arrest of specific criminals.
Who is eligible to be targeted by WCR?
Originally, only individuals indicted by special tribunals for Rwanda, Yugoslavia, and Sierra Leone were eligible to be targeted by the program. However, on January 15, 2013, President Obama signed into law a bill making any foreign national accused of crimes against humanity, genocide, or war crimes by any international, mixed, or hybrid criminal tribunal eligible targets for WCR. This includes Kony, Ongwen, and Odhiambo, who were indicted by International Criminal Court (ICC) in 2005. The bill’s passage marked the first time that Congress has authorized a formal relationship between the US and the ICC , which many Members of Congress have previously opposed.
How can this be used to help bring LRA leaders to justice?
By adding Kony, Ongwen, and Odhiambio to the WCR program, the State Department has increased the chances they will be brought to justice in several ways.
First, the financial reward could incentivize LRA fighters and commanders to defect from the LRA in order to share information about the location of the three eligible commanders with US authorities. This would not only lead to better information on their whereabouts, but also drain the LRA of the fighters essential for its survival. Crucially, it could also sow divisions and suspicions within LRA ranks if Kony and other commanders fear betrayal, which would further diminish their capacity to perpetrate attacks on civilians.
Second, the financial reward could incentivize local hunters, nomadic groups (such as the Mbororo), or other people who may have information about the location of the three eligible commanders to share it with US authorities. Community members in some LRA-affected areas of CAR and Congo that have been repeatedly targeted by LRA attacks have already been willing to share information about the location of LRA groups and commanders. However, people in areas of northern CAR and Sudan, where senior LRA commanders are thought to be located, have been less cooperative, so a financial reward could provide the impetus needed to facilitate information sharing.
Less likely (but still possible), lowly research groups such as ourselves or others working in LRA-affected areas could presumably benefit from a reward.
How can it be advertised, especially to LRA groups in remote areas?
The WCR program has a budget for advertising the financial reward for the three LRA commanders, and in the coming weeks US government officials will spreading the word in a variety of ways. They will likely use radio broadcasts as the main tool, but could also use leaflet drops over areas of LRA activity and briefings for local communities.
Who can receive the award, and how can they share the information?
Anybody is eligible to receive the financial award, with the exception of government officials acting in their official capacity and individuals under US sanction. To receive the award, the information provided by the individual must lead to the arrest, transfer, or conviction of one of the three LRA commanders. The State Department website has guidance on how to directly share information regarding the whereabouts of an indictee. To determine the size of the reward, the State Department takes into consideration the importance of the target, the risk taken by informant, the value of the specific information they gave, and other factors. Most rewards issued range from $400,000 to $2 million.
Do informants face any risk?
Though the LRA will likely be unable to identify or locate specific informants, some informants could face risks or challenges, such as coping with a large influx of cash while living in an impoverished community. To minimize risk to the informant, the State Department does not reveal the identity of informants and can provide a range of witness protection measures.
Is there any risk of LRA reprisal attacks?
Though the LRA has intentionally reduced civilian killings in recent years, there will be a risk of LRA reprisal attacks. LRA commanders have ordered reprisal attacks and massacres following the launch of international interventions in the past, including the announcement of the ICC indictments in 2005 and the launch of Operation Lightning Thunder in 2008. To mitigate this risk, US officials should work with military forces, peacekeepers, and early warning civilian protection networks in LRA-affected areas to ensure they are informed about the WCR program and are taking steps to prevent LRA reprisal attacks.
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.
Tuesday, we posted about how political upheaval in the Central African Republic (CAR) may threaten regional efforts to end LRA atrocities. Today, we received worrying news: it appears Uganda and the US have suspended operations to pursue the LRA, at least temporarily.
Initial reports suggest the US draw back was sparked by questions over whether the Ugandans intend to continue the mission. The US role is only advisory and depends on partner governments in the region to lead, particularly Uganda. While Ugandan officials announced publicly that they will sustain their operations, there are some reports suggesting this may not be the case and that they are still weighing options in the aftermath of the CAR change of government.
As we wrote Tuesday, the Ugandan-led, US-supported military operations, which were authorized by the African Union in 2011, have helped reduce the LRA threat significantly in recent years. LRA attacks, killings, and abductions of civilians have declined precipitously. However, the withdrawal of Ugandan and US forces now — or any time before Joseph Kony is captured and the group’s command structure fully dismantled — could allow these gains to be reversed.
The recent upheaval in CAR has caused a humanitarian crisis for much of the country and deserves urgent attention from the international community. It is possible that the broader dynamics there will eclipse operations against the LRA. However, it will be critical to guard against any decision to end regional counter-LRA efforts that is premature or unnecessary, as it will leave civilians much more exposed to further LRA atrocities and set back hopes for a permanent end to the crisis.
A violent change of government that took place in the Central African Republic over the weekend could lead to the withdrawal of Ugandan and US forces working to track down LRA groups in the eastern part of the country. The departure of Ugandan and US forces from CAR, which are operating there under an authorization from the African Union and with permission from the previous CAR government, would create a security vacuum in LRA-affected areas and allow the reversal of significant gains made against the LRA in recent years.
The “Seleka” coalition, as it is known, seized control of the capital city of Bangui on Sunday. One of the rebel leaders, Michel Djotodia (profiled here), has claimed the Presidency while deposed President Francoise Bozize has fled to Cameroon. Seleka is a combination of five different CAR rebel groups that emerged in December of 2012 with claims that the central government had not delivered on promises made in previous peace agreements.
Seleka representatives previously called for the exit of all “foreign forces” from CAR. While they are likely focused most on the Chadian, South African, and other forces from neighboring countries that deployed in a (failed) effort to protect the former regime, there are indications they may ask Ugandan and US forces, which operate only with permission from the central government, to leave as well. A senior Seleka leader recently called publicly for the Ugandans to leave, though Ugandan and US government sources indicated to us that no formal request for their departure has been made since Seleka seized power.
The Ugandans have pursued the LRA in CAR, with some success, since 2009. In 2011, the African Union provided a political mandate for regional operations against the LRA and the US sent military advisors to support the Ugandan-led efforts. During this time, LRA attacks, killings, and abductions of civilians have declined significantly, and defections from LRA ranks have surged.
The withdrawal of Ugandan and US forces now – or any time before Joseph Kony is captured and the group’s command structure fully dismantled – could reverse these gains. The Ugandan-led military operations have weakened the LRA and prevented them from being able to integrate many of the civilians they abduct into their ranks. Without military pressure, Kony could rebuild much of the capacity that the LRA has lost over the past several years. And with no alternative forces that can pursue the LRA or provide protection, civilians in LRA-affected areas – who have largely welcomed the Ugandan and US deployments – would be left more exposed to LRA attacks.
One of Seleka’s member groups, the UFDR, itself clashed with the LRA back in 2010, and a field interview we conducted with a UFDR representative in 2011 suggested they view the LRA with extreme hostility. However, the UFDR may have received some support for its rebellion from the Government of Sudan (as many civil society leaders in eastern CAR believe and this 2007 HRW report alleges), which has an interest in seeing its longtime enemy Uganda depart from its backyard in CAR. In 2010, disputes between Ugandan and UFDR forces over control of diamond mines in the town of Sam Ouandja (Ugandan forces were allegedly preventing the UFDR from exploiting the illegal diamond trade, though this is disputed) also led to the Ugandans being forced to leave that town.
All this to say: there is cause for concern that the political upheaval in CAR could deal a devastating setback for international efforts to end LRA atrocities. In the short term, there is no alternative to the Ugandan-led, US-supported operations that could realistically hope to address the LRA’s threat to civilians. As international leaders engage with the newly installed CAR government to help reestablish some semblance of security and democratic governance in the country, they should urge cooperation with the African Union-authorized regional counter-LRA mission and allow Ugandan and US forces to stay put.
Today we released the 2012 LRA Crisis Tracker Annual Security Brief. The brief analyzes trends and patterns in LRA activity from January – December 2012 and compares LRA activity between 2010, 2011, and 2012. You can download the pdf here, or view the report online in the plug-in above.
For those of you hesitant to read another densely-worded thesis by a DC-based NGO: fear not. This report will dazzle you (we hope) with a mix of maps, charts, and graphs. It’s no Beyonce half-time show, but we did our best.
The top six trends from the report, including a spike in Ugandan combatant defections in 2012, are pasted below. The full report includes analysis on LRA weapons use, size of attacking forces, and patterns in the location of large scale abductions/killings and the relation of LRA attacks to time of day.
1. LRA violence spiked in the first half of 2012 (191 attacks) and then tapered off in the second half of the year (84 attacks).
This trend is similar to LRA activity patterns seen in 2010 and 2011. These patterns have been influenced by the LRA’s tendency to reduce attacks during the rainy season, and indicate that civilians are at increased risk of LRA violence in the first several months of 2013.
2. Senior LRA commanders are operating primarily in the Central African Republic (CAR) and the Sudanese-controlled Kafia Kingi enclave.
Commanders operating primarily in these areas include International Criminal Court-indictees Joseph Kony, Dominic Ongwen, and Okot Odhiambo. Maj. John Bosco Kibwola and Col. Otto Agweng, two increasingly influential LRA commanders, are also reported to be in CAR or Kafia Kingi. Lt. Col. Vincent Binansio “Binany” Okumu, formerly a personal bodyguard to Kony, was allegedly the ranking LRA commander in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo) for much of 2012. He was killed by the Ugandan military in CAR in January 2013.
3. The number of Ugandan adult males returning from the LRA increased in 2012.
Though accurately tracking Ugandan returnees from the LRA is difficult, the LRA Crisis Tracker recorded a spike in the number of Ugandan adult males who escaped or were captured in 2012. Because the LRA can no longer actively recruit Ugandans, each Ugandan adult male who returns from the group is a significant loss to the LRA’s core fighting force and command structure. Of the 20 who returned in 2012, 15 saw or heard defection messaging in the form of leaflets, FM or shortwave radio broadcasts, or helicopter-mounted speakers. In addition, 8 surrendered to newly introduced Safe Reporting Sites in CAR.
4. The majority of LRA abductees in 2012 were adults used as temporary porters, not children trained to become future fighters.
Available data indicates that 69% of LRA abductees in 2012 were adults and 64% of all 2012 abductees escaped or were released within one month of their abduction. The preference for temporary adult abductees suggests that instead of seeking to train young children as new fighters, the LRA is in need of strong adults capable of carrying heavy loads of looted goods.
5. In 2012, LRA groups committed unusually large and brazen attacks in areas of CAR beyond the reach of Ugandan troops and US military advisers.
These include the massacre of 13 artisanal gold miners on a hunting reserve northeast of Bangassou, an attack on a French uranium mining camp in Bakouma, and the abduction of 97 people in two separate attacks near Fode. LRA groups have directed threats of future attacks at communities in this area. There are few CAR troops deployed in this area and it is largely out of reach for Ugandan troops and US military advisers, who are deployed further east in CAR.
6. The LRA is intentionally killing fewer people.
LRA combatants killed a total of 51 civilians in 2012, the lowest figure since 2007. The LRA killed civilians in only 10% of total attacks in 2012, compared to 30% in 2011 and 50% in 2010. Similarly, the average number of people killed per attack has decreased steadily in the past three years: 1.5 (2010), 0.52 (2011), and 0.18 (2012). Though the LRA’s fighting force has been reduced since 2010, the drop in killings does not indicate that the group no longer has the capacity to kill civilians or commit large massacres.This trend is also the result of a strategic decision by Kony in mid-2011 to reduce killings of civilians.
On Dec. 4th, the US Senate passed next year’s defense authorizations bill after adding a new provision urging sustained commitment for efforts to help end LRA atrocities. The amendment was introduced by Senators Jim Inhofe (R-OK) and Chris Coons (D-DE), who chairs the Africa Subcommittee. It passed unanimously. The full text is below.
Senator Carl Levin (D-MI), who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee, expressed his support when the amendment went for a vote. According to the official Congressional record, Levin commended Senators Inhofe and Coons and added, “The determination to go after Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army is essential not just in terms of the values that we so dearly believe in, but also in terms of avoiding further slaughter that has been perpetrated by Kony.”
The amendment was added just a week after more than 700 activists from across the country met with their representatives in Congress as part of MOVE:DC, the culminating event of the KONY 2012 campaign.
A second provision in the final bill specifically authorizes new funds for surveillance tools that help locate LRA groups. We wrote about it when it was added in June. Before becoming law, this legislation must first be reconciled with a version passed earlier this year by the House of Representatives that did not include either of the two LRA-related provisions.
SEC. 1246. EFFORTS TO REMOVE JOSEPH KONY FROM POWER AND END ATROCITIES COMMITTED BY THE LORD’S RESISTANCE ARMY.
Consistent with the Lord’s Resistance Army Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act of 2009 (Public Law 111–172), it is the sense of the Senate that—
(1) the ongoing United States advise and assist operation to support the regional governments in Africa in their ongoing efforts to apprehend or remove Joseph Kony and his top commanders from the battlefield and end atrocities perpetuated by his Lord’s Resistance Army should continue;
(2) using amounts authorized to be appropriated by section 301 and specified in the funding table in section 4301 for Operation and Maintenance, Defense-wide for ‘‘Additional ISR Support to Operation Observant Compass’’, the Secretary of Defense should provide increased intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance assets to support the ongoing efforts of United States Special Operations Forces to advise and assist regional partners as they conduct operations against the Lord’s Resistance Army in Central Africa;
(3) United States and regional African forces should increase their operational coordination; and
(4) the regional governments should recommit themselves to the operations sanctioned by the African Union Peace and Security Council resolution.
Today, we joined ten other organizations in jointly releasing a new report revealing that the United Nations has failed to make meaningful progress in implementing its strategy to address LRA atrocities in the six months since it was released. You can read the full report here.
In Getting Back on Track: Implementing the UN Regional Strategy on the LRA, we hold the UN strategy against its own standards and show that progress has been slow to nonexistent in most areas. Key measures that should have been implemented by now — such as expanded communications infrastructure in LRA-affected areas, agreement among all actors for how to treat LRA abductees who escape, and cooperation among regional governments in the African Union’s regional military mission — have not been reached.
When we first wrote about the UN strategy, we applauded its content but noted many of these same challenges to seeing it implemented. The report highlights inadequate donor funds, absent cooperation from the governments of Sudan and Democratic Republic of Congo, and weak leadership from the UN Secretary General as some of the key impediments to progress thus far.
Because the LRA is committing attacks in an area that spans several countries, leadership from the UN remains crucial to a coordinated and effective response to the crisis. The UN Security Council will meet to discuss the LRA and the progress made so far in implementing the UN strategy on December 18, providing a key opportunity for the US representative on the Council to press for improvements.
Yesterday, the US announced the release of up to fifteen million dollars to help protect communities being targeted by LRA attacks in southeast Central African Republic (CAR). Given the inability of the CAR government to provide meaningful protection on its own, the program is pursuing innovative approaches to help communities protect themselves in the remote area.
A press release on the project notes that “Insecurity caused by the LRA affects communities that are already suffering from acute poverty and underdevelopment. Communities in southeast CAR are particularly vulnerable to attacks by the LRA because of the limited international humanitarian presence in the area, minimal government influence, and physical isolation due to poor communications systems, roads, and other infrastructure…
“Communities will develop and implement security plans that reduce their vulnerability to violence. Improved communications technology and information sharing among communities—as well as with local, national, and international organizations—will reduce their isolation and exposure to threats associated with the presence of the LRA and other armed groups.”
The program was developed after Resolve activists and partner groups worked with leaders in Congress — most notably Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) as well as Representatives Jim McGovern (D-MA), Jeff Fortenberry (R-NE), and Kay Granger (R-TX) — to secure allocations for it in the 2012 budget. Similar programs in LRA-affected areas of Democratic Republic of Congo, which utilize high frequency radio and mobile phone networks, have helped inform and prepare communities for the threat of attack by the LRA. The full description can be accessed here.
The LRA is reported to have first moved into southeast CAR in February of 2007, drawn by the remoteness of the area and absence of any CAR government forces.