Friday, March 30, 2012

LRA attacks on the rise in Central Africa

A Congolese woman, displaced by LRA attacks, carries a bag of non-food items distributed by UNHCR in Dungu, DR of Congo. Photo: UNHCR/M.Hofer

According to multiple articles, including Invisible Children & Resolve’s own LRA Crisis Tracker, the LRA has been ramping up attacks and abductions within the past few months. The UN News Centre, the Voice of America, and humanitarian news site AlertNet have all reported a rise of LRA activity since January both in the Democratic Republic of Congo and Central African Republic.

UN agency warns of increasing attacks by Lord’s Resistance Army in Central Africa

30 March 2012 – The United Nations refugee agency today spoke out about an increase in the number of attacks in recent weeks by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in central Africa, leading to the displacement of thousands of people.

The attacks have taken place in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the Central African Republic (CAR) and South Sudan, a spokesperson for the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), Melissa Fleming, told reporters in Geneva.

She said that since UNHCR’s last update on 6 March, there have been 13 attacks in the DRC, which resulted in two killings and 13 abductions, and the displacement of 1,230 people mostly from the Dungu territory in the country’s north-east. In CAR, LRA attacks have resumed after a lull since April last year, with 11 attacks recorded this year.

The LRA was formed in the 1980s in Uganda and for over 15 years its attacks were mainly directed against Ugandan civilians and security forces, which in 2002 dislodged the rebels. They then exported their activities to Uganda’s neighbouring countries, with practices that include the recruitment of children, rapes, killing and maiming, and sexual slavery.

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