One year ago this month, a group of Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) fighters released 12 women and children, handing them over to one of our local partners in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). The LRA group also passed along a message that they would release more captives if the 12 women and children were well cared for. We asked for your support to help us care for the released women and children, rapidly broadcast “Come Home” radio messages targeting this LRA group, and equip local communities to safely receive LRA escapees.
Armed groups have killed 220 civilians and abducted 96 others in eastern Central African Republic (CAR) since January 2017, while also killing eight peacekeepers from the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the CAR (MINUSCA). Leadership from the UN Security Council and U.S. government is needed to expand community-based early warning, resilience, and social cohesion programs in eastern CAR and ensure MINUSCA more effectively implements its protection of civilians mandate.
In central Africa, where remoteness and limited infrastructure cause many communities to be isolated from each other and the world around them, FM radio can be a powerful tool for connection. Whether in a larger town, a small nomadic community, or deep in the forest, many people, including fighters in Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), listen to the radio.
In the last decade, hundreds of individuals have escaped or been released from captivity in Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Some have been women and children, released in large groups by LRA commanders. Many were held captive for a few days, forced to porter goods looted from their own homes. Hundreds were held captive for years, made to fight as soldiers or forced into marriages with LRA officers in camps hidden deep in the forest before finally seizing an opportunity to escape.