News & Analysis Blog Posts
We’re fans of the folks at The Justice and Reconciliation Project (JRP) — they’re great people doing great work. Recently, JRP released an interesting report that focuses on the feelings and perceptions of LRA-affected communities in northern Uganda toward Uganda’s Amnesty Act.
The Uganda Amnesty Act of 2000 grants amnesty to any rebel combatant from 1986 onward who lays down his or her weapons and renounces the rebellion. According to JRP’s report, more than 10,800 former members of the LRA have received amnesty through the Act as of August 2008, and have re-joined their communities with less harassment and stigma than they otherwise would have experienced without this national policy of forgiveness. The Amnesty Act has been shown to actively encourage combatants to defect from the LRA, with the promise that they will be accepted back home. This is very important, as so many LRA combatants were abducted as children and were unwilling combatants in the first place.
As reflected in the report, JRP researchers interviewed a spectrum of Acholi community members, from local leaders to former-abductees, and asked what they thought of amnesty. Their findings show overwhelming support for the Amnesty Act and many respondents argued that Uganda’s amnesty policy is partially to thank for the peace that the region has experienced since the LRA left Uganda’s borders in 2006. It helps clean the slate and faciliate forgiveness for the unwilling fighters, from both their community and their country.
Interestingly, some of the respondents said they wished that even the top commanders would be granted amnesty, arguing that almost everyone aside from LRA leader Joseph Kony was at one time a victim.
Currently, the Amnesty Act of 2000 is due to either expire or be extended in May 2012, making JRP’s report especially timely.
In this same vein, this spring Resolve will be lobbying our leaders in Washington with the recommendation that part of the $10 million in foreign aid Congress recently authorized for the LRA-affected communities should go towards the rescue, rehabilitation, and reintegration of LRA combatants.
In the case of the LRA, amnesty is an important component of peace and restoration that must go hand-in-hand with focused efforts to support ex-combatants as they seek healing and reintegrate with their communities.
This report is just 3 pages long and fascinating from beginning to end. Take a few minutes to read it yourself.
*Above photo: Acholi women participating in a traditional mato oput ceremony. Courtesy of Justice and Reconciliation Project (JRP).
With the launch of the LRA Crisis Tracker this fall, Resolve and Invisible Children have been able to significantly increase the amount of information of LRA attacks available to the international community. As our teams worked on the Crisis Tracker over the last year, we focused heavily on making this data both relevant and actionable.
Achieving that aim has involved the development a series of monthly and quarterly analytical reports that trace trends in LRA movement and provide a summary of levels of violence over particular time periods. These LRA Crisis Tracker Security Briefs are designed to serve as helpful resources for NGO partners, United Nation’s staff, policymakers and local community leaders, seeking to effectively address LRA violence.
Previous months’ reports, along with a sign up form to receive reports by email, can be found here.
Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, who is currently making a bid for the Republican presidential nomination, said — on camera — that he supports the deployment of troops to stop the Lord’s Resistance Army.
If a front runner for the GOP nomination is on board with the deployment, it bodes well for the future. Romney’s statement follows a wide range of bipartisan leaders who expressed support for Obama’s recent decision to send U.S. advisers to help regional governments address LRA atrocities.
He was talking to The Des Moines Register in the context of an hour-long interview. Around 58:00, he is answering a question about Jihadism and the U.S. military. He says he would be very cautious about deploying large numbers of American troops and putting them in harm’s way. Rather, he favors sending small numbers of advisers to aid national militaries when we are working to achieve common goals. He mentioned Obama’s deployment of 100 troops as a prime example. At 1:00:07 he says:
“The President, for instance, something I agree with, he sent men and women to central Africa, to go in and help battle the Lord’s Resistance Army. Now that’s not exactly the same as Jihadism, but it’s still a virulent and malevolent force. I support that. I support the idea of a very small number of people who can have a very significant impact to prevent something which can be very much opposed to the interests of America as well as the interests of the civilized world.”
This statement is just one more piece of evidence that stopping the LRA is a bipartisan issue. This is huge. Governor Romney, thank you!
Check out the video of Mitt Romney’s comments on the deployment of the advisers here. (Skip to about 58 min 15 sec)
Paul Ronan, our Director of Advocacy, wrote a letter to his hometown paper in upstate NY that was published last week. Paul has been working on bringing an end to the LRA conflict since 2005 when he first visited Uganda.
He was moved to write to his local paper when he saw that the Buffalo News published a piece about the LRA on its front page. This was especially staggering for him because over the course of 6 years of advocacy work, mainstream media had never covered the LRA much. That was, of course, until President Obama’s announcement that he would be sending 100 advisers to assist in stopping the LRA. The fact that Paul’s local paper deemed this development newsworthy and relevant enough to print was a symbolic break through.
We’re passing Paul’s article on to you because he talks about the conflict from a different angle than our usual. He takes a more colloquial approach to the subject, but still lays out the facts crisply. It is copied below.
Also, this is a perfect example of how you can share the story of the LRA to your local community. Newspapers are always looking for personal interest stories, especially when it features a local who has taken an interest in something outside of him or herself. Give it a try. You never know—it might be published.
Paul Ronan: A little piece of WNY halfway around world
Paul Ronan, who was born in Rushford and lives there part time, is director of advocacy for Resolve.
Nov. 30, 2011.
Six years ago, I left my home in rural Western New York in search of an adventure in the east African country of Uganda. A few weeks later, feeling a bit homesick after the trials of learning new foods and languages, our group visited a rural homestead.
As I sat watching an approaching thunderstorm and listening to my hosts discuss planting seasons, I was reminded of childhood visits to the farm that my mother grew up on and that my uncle and grandfather still work. Despite being halfway across the world, I felt strangely at home that night and for the rest of the trip.
Since that night I’ve traveled back to east Africa several times, but with a more serious purpose than adventure — to stop atrocities against innocent families like those who hosted me during that first visit. For 26 years, a brutal rebel group called the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has terrorized rural villages in northern Uganda and neighboring countries, forcing people from their farms and abducting children to become child soldiers. The LRA is formed around a cadre of indicted war criminals, led by the infamous Joseph Kony, who see children as pawns in a twisted power play.
This announcement has raised some concerns that we’re putting U. S. soldiers in danger and overspending at a time when we should be doing neither. These concerns deserve to be heard, but are largely unfounded. The troops will serve solely as advisers, safely out of harm’s way, and the costs will come out of existing budget allocations.During these trips, I’ve met with dozens of people who have been victims of rebel attacks on schools, markets and even churches. Each time I listen to a father wonder if his abducted son will someday escape from the LRA’s ranks or watch a priest point out a bullet-pocked church, I can’t help but picture the same scene occurring back home in Western New York. It drives me to do what I can to bring an end to the conflict, and makes me pause to appreciate my childhood free of wondering whether any given day would end as a nightmare.
Over the years I’ve been joined by passionate Western New Yorkers and Americans from across the country in an effort to persuade U. S. leaders to help bring an end to the LRA’s rampage. Our work has helped bring together a rare bipartisan coalition in Congress, which passed legislation last year calling on the United States to take action.
Just a few weeks after returning from a visit to communities that had been attacked by the LRA, I had a chance to meet President Obama when he signed the bill. During the ceremony, he promised to “vigorously, vigorously” implement the legislation’s provisions, and our movement has been working ever since to hold him to his promise. Obama recently took a big step in that direction, announcing that the United States will send military advisers to work with regional militaries to apprehend Kony, help child soldiers escape and protect families from rebel raids.
These advisers could be a decisive factor in Obama’s broader efforts to bring LRA leaders to justice, bring peace to a troubled region and allow children to return to school where they belong. It would also let farmers stop worrying about rebel raids and get back to wondering when the rains will come and when they should start planting their fields. And that’s something I can identify with.
This blog is part of a Wikileaks series, where we’re delving into interesting revelations and allegations from leaked U.S. government cables that concern the LRA. While much of the material in the cables is fascinating, we remind readers that Wikileaks cables are not rigorously researched documents; they often report secondhand information and reflect the thinking of their authors in the U.S. diplomatic corps. So take the information here for what it is worth.
This post is all about Joseph Kony, who assumed leadership of the Lord’s Resistance Army in 1988, and rarely engages in any kind of contact with outsiders. He is most known for his unique ability to manipulate LRA abductees with his claims to spiritual power and authority.
As Resolve has argued many times, dealing with Joseph Kony is only one part of what’s needed to address the LRA crisis as a whole, and in the long term, the weakness and fragility of governments in the region must be addressed to achieve sustainable peace. But Kony is a key part of the equation, and the cables shed light on his personality and decisionmaking. Wikileaks hardly provides a complete profile of Joseph Kony; it’s more an odd assortment of sketches as reported by LRA defectors or other people who interacted with him.
One cable shares an instance in which respected elders from northern Uganda were scheduled to meet with Kony in early December 2008 after he had failed to show up to sign the Final Peace Agreement for the fifth time. The cable alleges that Kony showed no respect to the leaders of the Acholi people, his elders and countrymen; he made them strip naked and stand on hills of fire ants. [Editorial note: The veracity of the fire ant claim has been questioned by this commenter.]
Kony reportedly does not drink alcohol and forbids his commanders to drink it. So when top commander Dominic Ongwen got drunk one night and stepped on Kony’s foot, a cable alleges that Kony’s anger was so great that Ongwen spent 2 weeks in his home to “wait out Kony’s wrath.”
In a cable dated September 2008, recent defectors claimed that Kony was not at all interested in negotiating a peaceful end to the violence, but was taking advantage of them to regroup. He reportedly killed Vincent Otti, one of his top commanders, because Otti wanted to sign the peace agreement, and that was considered a betrayal. Interestingly, two other senior LRA leaders – Dominic Ongwen and Okot Odhimabo – reportedly threatened to kill Kony if he dared to sign the peace agreement. Like Kony, they too have been indicted by the International Criminal Court, and were reportedly worried that somehow Kony would get off with a lighter sentence and the two of them would have to bear the brunt of the punishment.
The cables portray Kony as fearful that everyone is trying to trick him and kill him—from the UPDF to “the Americans” to people in his own camp. In one cable, Kony fully trusts David Matsanga – a member of the Ugandan Diaspora who was a leader of the LRA’s delegation during the Juba negotiations – to be his representative, in another cable he accuses Matsanga of plotting to kill him, and the following month trusts Matsanga completely again.
In 2009, there were reports that Kony may intend to be killed or to commit suicide before he allows himself to be captured. (Resolve advocates for Kony’s capture, to facilitate a formal trial for the crimes he has committed.) Here’s an excerpt from the Kampala embassy’s cable on the subject, citing then-researcher for the Enough Project, Ledio Cakaj:
Cakaj speculated that if cornered Kony could attempt a mass suicide in a ‘Jonestown-like’ scenario with his entourage. He based this on a conversation with the Sudanese wife of one of Kony’s bodyguards, who lived in the same compound as Kony’s wives prior to the December 2008 regional offensive. She claimed Kony repeatedly said he would not allow himself to be captured and warned his family that, if captured, the UPDF would torture and kill all of them. Cakaj connected this to a separate conversation with northern Ugandan peace negotiator Betty Bigombe who said Kony aspired to “die like Hitler.”
When former LRA commander Thomas Kwoyelo came out of the bush in 2009, he reported that Kony commissioned LRA fighters to abduct as many people as possible following Operation Lightning Thunder, the failed military operation launched by Uganda against LRA camps in December of 2008. Kony reportedly said, “If even Jesus abducted his disciples, why not me?”
Even before Operation Lightning Thunder and during the Juba negotiations process, Kony used attacks against civilians in Democratic Republic of Congo in September 2008 to punish local communities for housing and feeding several LRA defectors in August 2008. He hoped that by increasing the attacks, he would turn local communities against anyone affiliated with the LRA and thus discourage defections. In that period from September to November 2008, the LRA killed an estimated 135 and abducted another 300.
In a cable that is filled with Kony’s reported rants about who he trusts and who he doesn’t, there is a surprising paragraph which says that, “Kony only had kind words for Ugandan President Museveni, who had been taking care of his mother for 15 years. He said that he wanted to talk to Museveni directly and tasked Matsanga to get the latest telephone numbers from the Ugandan government.”
These are just a few stories that the Embassy cables tell. Stay tuned for more to come.
[Editorial note: An earlier version of this blog erroneously claimed that Kony assumed leadership of the LRA in 1986, and did not provide an adequate caveat that Resolve cannot confirm information and allegations contained in the Wikileaks cables.]
November 24th marks one year since President Obama released his comprehensive strategy on the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). And later this week, we expect to receive an official report from the Obama Administration on what it has done during that time, as was required by last year’s LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act. Together with our friends at Enough and Invisible Children, we’ve released another report card to share our own evaluation of the President’s efforts to implement his historic LRA strategy to date, the third and final issue of the year.
As the report card shows, President Obama took a huge step forward when he deployed 100 advisers to assist regional governments in their attempts to apprehend senior LRA commanders and protect civilians. He went from a “D” to an “A-.” As the “homework” section of the report card points out, now we would like to see the President “work with his senior officials to improve collaboration between the Ugandan and Congolese governments on counter-LRA efforts; this includes ensuring the appointment of a capable Special Adviser for the Great Lakes region who reports directly to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.” Without the proper follow-through, the deployment of these advisers won’t be successful in helping achieve an end to immediate LRA violence.
There are several other issues that also demand President Obama’s engagement, such as expanding civilian early warning systems and encouraging members of the LRA to escape and return home. Mobile phone and radio networks are crucial to such efforts, and funding the expansion of these networks should be more of a priority for the U.S.
Below are President Obama’s grades in a nutshell, but take a look at the full Report Card to get the complete rundown on what the President has been doing and what he needs to do next. (You can also check out report cards #1 and #2 to get the full picture since November of last year.)
|Element of Implementation||President Obama’s Grade|
|Expanded US involvement to end the crisis||A-|
|Protection of Civilians||C+|
|Stop senior LRA commanders||B|
|Facilitate escape from the LRA||D|
|Help affected communities survive and rebuild||B|
The Grading for President Obama’s LRA Strategy & Implementation:
A = Significant progress B = Encouraging progress C = Little or inadequate progress
D = Efforts at a standstill F = Efforts backsliding
A few weeks back, we cheered when President Obama announced that he was dispatching approximately 100 military advisers to help governments in central Africa deal more effectively with atrocities being committed by the LRA. (more…)
Yesterday several well-respected LRA scholars wrote an in-depth analysis in Foreign Affairs of President Obama’s decision to deploy US advisers to LRA-affected areas. In it they raise several concerns about that decision, many of which we agree with. For instance, we’ve been vocal on the fact that apprehending or killing Kony is not a silver bullet that will bring lasting peace. We’d also agree the US-supported, Ugandan-led Operation Lightning Thunder attack on the LRA in December 2008 was poorly planned and unforgivably failed to prevent massive LRA reprisal attacks on innocent civilians.
All told, we have tremendous respect for the authors and the decades of experience they have between them on this issue. However, this particular piece contained several misleading claims and factual inaccuracies, including some leveled directly at Resolve. We feel it’s important to set the record straight in the interests of continuing the dialogue that the President’s decision has generated over the past few weeks.
Below are a few quotes pulled from the article, and our responses:
1. “Among the most influential of advocacy groups focusing specifically on the LRA are the Enough project, the Resolve campaign, the Canadian-based group GuluWalk, and the media-oriented group Invisible Children. Older agencies, from Human Rights Watch to World Vision, have also been involved. In their campaigns, such organizations have manipulated facts for strategic purposes, exaggerating the scale of LRA abductions and murders and emphasizing the LRA’s use of innocent children as soldiers, and portraying Kony — a brutal man, to be sure — as uniquely awful, a Kurtz-like embodiment of evil.”
Accusing Resolve of “manipulating facts” and “exaggerating the scale of LRA abductions and murders” is a serious charge, and this claim is published with no accompanying substantiation. We’ve done our utmost to ensure we stick to the facts, because our credibility in the eyes of grassroots activists, policymakers, and LRA-affected communities is our most important asset. We’ve encouraged the authors to get specific with their claims, and we’ll gladly continue the conversation from there if they do.
2. “During the past decade, U.S.-based activists concerned about the LRA have successfully, if quietly, pressured the George W. Bush and Obama administrations to take a side in the fight between the LRA and the Ugandan government.” …… “They rarely refer to the Ugandan atrocities or those of Sudan’s People’s Liberation Army, such as attacks against civilians or looting of civilian homes and businesses, or the complicated regional politics fueling the conflict.”
We strongly dispute the claim that Resolve has “sided” with the Ugandan government or “rarely” refers to Ugandan atrocities. The need for the US to respond to atrocities by the Ugandan government was a central pillar of our advocacy efforts during the Juba peace talks, and we continue to help lead efforts inside the Beltway to draw attention to and condemn abuses by Ugandan security forces. Check out a few of our press releases, blogs, and Resolve–initiated civil society letters as just a few examples. We are also one of the few groups that has done field research in currently–affected LRA areas and documented reports of Ugandan military abuses there, and we continue to urge US officials, publicly and privately, to address such concerns. As for ignoring regional politics… check out our last few blogs or our last major policy report as two examples of our continued attention to these dynamics.
3. “Thanks to the efforts of those organizations, in 2004 U.S. President George W. Bush placed the LRA on the U.S. Terrorist Exclusion List, a list of groups involved in “terrorist activity” whose members are banned from entering the country.”
Neither Resolve nor the Enough Project existed in 2004, and Invisible Children was just launching their first documentary and not engaged in the political advocacy scene yet.
4. “Even so, it is hard to set aside fears that the new effort will be no more than a repeat of previous ones [such as Operation Lightning Thunder]. Such an expectation has certainly been expressed by many of the region’s religious leaders, who openly oppose U.S. engagement.”
We agree on the first sentence – the possibility of repeating 2008’s disastrous US-supported operations is a possibility we must take very seriously and must work to prevent. But we don’t think the deployment of these advisers sets us down that path. In fact, we’ve spent the past several years advocating for a comprehensive US strategy to the LRA crisis that places greater emphasis on civilian protection, encouraging peaceful defections from the LRA, and recovery assistance.
The link in second sentence refers to a statement by “Acholi Religious Leaders”, which presumably refers to the Acholi Religious Leaders Peace Initiative statement from October 24, 2011. We’ve met with and dialogued with ARLPR many times, and greatly respect their views and prophetic voice over the years for peace. However, our extensive, multi-year conversations with religious leaders in LRA-affected areas of Congo, CAR, and South Sudan have revealed complex, nuanced opinions regarding US engagement and military efforts in these areas. Many of the communities with which they work were attacked by LRA fighters during the Juba peace talks, giving them a far different view of that process than Acholi leaders from northern Uganda. Many of their communities also suffered in the aftermath of Operation Lightning Thunder, of which they’ve also been critical.
But, given their experience during and since the Juba talks, a large number of religious leaders have advocated privately and publicly for increased US and international military efforts to apprehend senior LRA commanders and protect civilians, while simultaneously exploring ways to negotiate with individual LRA commanders. Just this week, civil society leaders representing communities from Uganda, Congo, South Sudan, and Central African Republic issued a statement thanking President Obama for his efforts to address the crisis, specifically applauding his decision to deploy the US military advisers.
5. “Operation Lighting Thunder, and other such missions to fight the LRA in the Central African Republic and in southern Sudan, served mostly to kill efforts to keep beleaguered peace talks going.”
We could, of course, argue for weeks about when and why the Juba talks collapsed. There are no hard and fast answers to this question. But many people who were directly involved in the talks, including some northern Ugandan civil society leaders, believe that Kony had given up on the peace talks long before Ugandan operations were launched. In November 2007 Kony ordered the execution of his second-in-command, Vincent Otti, who was reportedly pushing for the LRA to accept a peace deal. Kony also refused to appoint credible representatives to the talks, sign the final agreement despite multiple chances over a seven-month period, or propose a credible path towards refocusing the negotiations. But, in any case, actions speak louder than words: at the same time he was dragging out peace negotiations, Kony was slowly resuming systematic, documented atrocities against civilians. In March 2008 Kony ordered a trusted commander to commit large-scale attacks in southeast CAR in which dozens of people were abducted, and he also ordered the LRA to kill and abduct Congolese civilians in September 2008, all well before Ugandan operations were launched in December 2008.
6. “Any high expectations in Uganda for the new U.S. soldiers, meanwhile, where dashed when information trickled out of Washington that the troops would probably stay in Kampala and give advice, rather than go into combat.”
Part of this statement is not true – the US government has clearly stated that some of the US advisers, though less than half, will be deployed in LRA-affected areas of the Central African Republic, South Sudan, and likely Congo.
Earlier this week, the UN Security Council hosted a formal briefing on the threat posed by the LRA to communities across central Africa and issued its second statement on the issue this year. While by no means game-changing, it is encouraging to see the LRA get increased attention from the Security Council relative to recent years.
Council members focused much of their statement on expressing support for the African Union’s proposed role in coordinating efforts across all four LRA-affected countries, commending “the AU’s enhanced engagement on this issue,” and urging “the prompt appointment of the proposed AU Special Envoy for the LRA-affected areas.” They also acknowledged the important efforts being undertaken by UN peacekeepers in DR Congo to help LRA fighters and abductees escape and return home, notably calling for the UN to “expand these efforts across the LRA-affected region.”
The Council also expressed support for President Obama’s recent decision to deploy American military advisers to help governments in the region protect communities being attacked by the LRA. The statement welcomes “efforts by the international community, in coordination with the African Union and United Nations, to enhance the capacity of regional militaries to conduct effective operations against LRA top commanders and better protect civilians; it notes, for example, the efforts by the United States to work with regional militaries.”
Some of the strongest leadership on the Security Council is coming from American and Portuguese representatives. Here’s Portugal, who — as this month’s Security Council President — hosted the briefing:
“…we must bear in mind that in order to counter effectively LRA’s threat we must increase international and regional efforts, under the UN leadership in coordination with the AU, to support the affected countries in protecting their civilian populations. This means increasing the initiatives supportive of capacity-building, good governance and Rule of Law. But also very concrete improvements regarding road and communication infrastructures that will have a considerable impact in the safety of local communities.”
And here’s the U.S. after first noting the recent deployment of advisers:
“Mr. President, as we work together to increase military pressure on the LRA, we also believe there should be a renewed push to get LRA fighters and abductees to escape and defect. In the last month, some 30 women and children have left the organization’s ranks in the DRC. They are receiving food, medical attention, and transportation assistance to return home and unite with their families.”
Because the LRA is committing atrocities against civilians in three different countries, the group constitutes a clear threat to “international peace and security,” and is a definitely an issue that falls within the UN’s mandate. Yet leadership from the world body has been slow. We hope to see attention and leadership regarding the LRA grow in the coming months, and we applaud the Portuguese for organizing the briefing.
Civilian protection in DRC, South Sudan, and CAR remains a largely-unaddressed problem.
So in late October civil society leaders from across the LRA-affected region came together in Dungu, DRC, for a working conference hosted by Human Rights Watch (HWR) and the Justice and Peace Commission of the Catholic Diocese of Dungu (CDJP). Though from 4 different countries, these community representatives came together because the LRA threat remains imminent. Together they wrote letters to their respective governments, President Obama, and international organizations like the United Nations and European Union, asking that immediate attention and support be directed towards stopping the LRA and protecting civilians.
In addition to action from the United States, the leaders emphasized that regional governments and the international community must do their parts. Kony has escaped capture for more than 25 years. And as these civil society leaders demonstrated, it is going to take some serious collaboration within the international community to stop the LRA, and civilian protection needs to be a serious priority in that strategy.
HRW emphasized this point:
“People living in LRA-affected areas feel abandoned and forgotten by the UN and their own governments,” said Anneke Van Woudenberg, senior Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch. “The US deployment of military advisers can help protect civilians, but they can’t do it alone. The UN Security Council needs to do a lot more to protect people threatened by the LRA.”
It is one thing for us in the U.S. to evaluate the situation and make recommendations. It’s another for citizens of South Sudan, DR Congo, Uganda, and CAR–the people who are living the horror–to collectively make recommendations of how to most effectively protect their communities. Below are the 6 broad recommendations, but each is fleshed out with specifics on the website.
1) Fully recognize the LRA threat to civilians
2) Improve coordination among regional governments (CAR, South Sudan, and Congo)
3) Deploy capable, responsible, and disciplined military forces to protect civilians
4) Support early warning communications networks
5) Support returnees/ex-combatants
6) Support demobilization efforts
Lest there be doubt, the LRA threat is very real and civilian protection much needed. As HRW cited:
“Since September 2008, the LRA has killed at least 2,400 civilians and abducted over 3,500, many of them children, across a remote region in northern Democratic Republic of Congo, the Central African Republic (CAR), and South Sudan. In 2011 alone, there have been reports of 254 LRA attacks in which at least 126 civilians were killed and another 368 abducted. More than 440,000 people have fled their homes, and many of these displaced people have little access to humanitarian assistance.”
Below are links to the letters they drafted. But first, an excerpt from the one they wrote to President Obama:
“Yet we can only truly rejoice when the LRA threat is over and when we hear that Joseph Kony is no longer terrorizing our region. We have suffered too much and we are tired of living in total insecurity – afraid to go to our fields to farm and unsure when or where the rebels may surface again. We don’t know whether our children who were abducted by the LRA will ever come back home. You cannot imagine the pain in our hearts at the thought we might not see our children again.
We write to you today to ask you to make special efforts on the issues outlined below which we believe are crucial to help end the LRA threat and provide protection and assistance to our communities.”