We No Longer Want to Kill-LRA Rebels

October 3, 2013 8:16 am0 comments by:

Kinshasha, Thursday October 3, 2013- A report released by Invisible Children and The Resolve today indicates that the LRA is communicating with communities in parts of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC.)
The LRA Crisis Tracker: Mid- Year Security Brief, January- June 2013, shows that LRA forces often try to send messages to local communities, often through people they encounter during attacks or abductees they release. This report analyses trends and patterns in LRA activities including attacks, abductions, killings and lootings between January and June 2013.
The report shows that at least 24 such messages were sent including nine in which LRA members wrote letters. In six communications, LRA forces requested that civilians inform local communities to refrain from interfering with the LRA or cooperating with military forces. However, in several other communications, LRA forces sought to reassure civilians that they no longer wanted to kill people.
In nine incidents, LRA members expressed a desire to defect from the rebel group, sometimes asking civilians for assistance in doing so. In several cases, such as a series of incidents near Faradje (northeastern DRC) in April and May 2013, LRA communications were clustered in a particular area in a short period of time, indicating that LRA combatants were making repeated attempts to surrender and significant barriers to successful defection.
These attempts at communication reflect a high degree of disillusionment within LRA groups in Congo. Recent evidence suggests LRA groups in DRC are increasingly isolated from LRA senior commanders operating in CAR and the Kafia Kingi enclave, and operate in significantly weaker and smaller groups.
Other findings
The report also notes a decline in LRA attacks particularly in DRC, “The LRA committed 90 attacks in the first half of 2013, a 54% drop from the 194 attacks it committed in the first half of 2012. In particular, Democratic Republic of the Congo (Congo) experienced a significant drop, from 158 LRA attacks in the first half of 2012 to 66 in the first half of 2013,” reads the report in part.
Despite the dramatic drop in attacks, LRA forces killed more civilians in the first half of 2013 (47) than they did in the first half of 2012 (32), a 47% increase. Majority of the killings this year (34) took place in CAR while 13 took place in DRC. Between January and June 2012, the LRA killed 20 and 12 people in CAR and DRC respectively.
In addition, LRA Crisis Tracker records include 16 additional reported LRA attacks from January–June 2013 in eastern CAR that are not included in the statistics used in this brief because humanitarian and protection actors were unable to investigate and confirm the reports.
In the first half of 2013, 8 of Ugandan combatants defected in CAR and another defected in Congo. Another Ugandan LRA combatant was captured in Congo’s Garamba National Park following a clash with park rangers. In addition, 44 other people who had been with the LRA for six months or longer returned from the LRA between January and June 2013, including 28 women and children released by LRA combatants in Bas Uele district in March 2013.
The LRA Crisis Tracker is a geospatial database and reporting project, which aims to track incidents of violent conflict in areas affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army. Through publication of regular reports and open-source sharing of collected data, the LRA Crisis Tracker aims to help overcome the current deficit of relevant and timely information related to the LRA crisis and to support improved policy and humanitarian responses.

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