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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.
A message from our CEO, Lisa Dougan:
Today is a bittersweet day. Earlier this morning, our friends at The Resolve LRA Crisis Initiative announced that they will be closing their doors today. Please take a moment to read the message below from Resolve’s Director, Paul Ronan.
Since founding the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) in northern Uganda in the late 1980s, Joseph Kony’s control over the group’s command structure has been remarkably durable. Despite having no formal military training, he has motivated and ruled LRA members with a mixture of harsh discipline, incentives, and clever manipulation. When necessary, he has demoted or executed dozens of commanders that he perceived as threats to his power.
LRA Violence Against Civilians
Attacks, killings, and abductions committed against civilians by the LRA, with additional options to view violence against civilians by unidentified armed groups and other non-state armed groups in LRA-affected areas.
Major LRA Attacks
Attacks in which an LRA group killed at least five people and/or abducted at least 10 civilians.
Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) forces abducted 25 civilians in 10 attacks in November, with a significant majority of abductions occurring in eastern Central African Republic (CAR). A series of clashes involving ex-Séléka factions in and near Bria, CAR, left at least 14 civilians dead in late November. Armed groups continued to be active in northern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), particularly along the border with South Sudan's Western Equatoria state.
Low levels of LRA violence consistent with previous years
Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) forces abducted 44 civilians in eight attacks in October, among the lowest monthly totals recorded in 2016. Five of these attacks and nearly all of the abductions were likely committed by the LRA splinter group led by Achaye Doctor, which has been operating independently of Joseph Kony's command since late 2014.
Achaye splinter group targets communities in southeast CAR
Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) forces abducted 94 civilians in 38 attacks in Quarter 3 2016 (Q3 2016), covering the months of July–September 2016. Q3 levels of abductions and attacks were significantly lower than those in Q1 and Q2. Within Q3, September was the most violent month of LRA activity, with nearly double the number of abductions (61) as July and August combined (33).
In early 2015, former LRA commander and International Criminal Court (ICC)-indictee Dominic Ongwen surrendered to security forces in the Central African Republic (CAR) and was later transferred to the custody of the ICC to await trial in The Hague, where he remains now that trial proceedings have begun.
The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) was responsible for ten attacks in July 2016 in which they abducted 12 civilians, the lowest monthly abduction total so far in 2016. Attacks by unidentified armed groups in LRA-affected areas rose for the second consecutive month, with a total of 15 attacks in July. LRA defectors reported additional evidence that the rebel group is seeking to abduct young boys and put them through military training.
Attacks on civilians concentrated west of Garamba National Park
Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) leader Joseph Kony has proven capable of outmaneuvering internal rivals and external military threats for nearly three decades, but his once firm control over the group’s command structure is eroding. LRA groups are scattered across a vast territory, and Ugandan fighters are defecting at a slow but steady rate, demoralized by Kony’s harsh disciplinary measures and lack of vision for the future. At least one group of LRA officers led by Achaye Doctor has splintered and is operating independently of Kony’s command.
Mise à Jour
The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) was responsible for 13 attacks on civilians in May 2016 in which they abducted 25 people, the second-lowest monthly total so far in 2016. There were eight LRA attacks in northeastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), concentrated near Garamba National Park. The five LRA attacks in eastern Central African Republic (CAR) in May 2016 targeted civilians on or near communities along the Bangassou-Obo axis.
LRA continues to target civilians near DRC’s Garamba National Park
The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) was responsible for 296 civilian abductions during Quarter 1 2016 (Q1 2016), covering the months of January–March 2016. The 296 abductions, the most by the LRA in a single quarter since Quarter 3 2010, highlighted a significant surge in LRA violence. 14 longterm abductees escaped from the LRA in Q1 2016, including three adult male Ugandan fighters.
Senior LRA leaders reportedly order child abductions in eastern CAR
In recent weeks, our LRA Crisis Tracker team has gathered a series of reports through our Early Warning Network indicating the renewed presence of an LRA group within DR Congo’s Garamba National Park in eastern Congo. Garamba, one of Africa’s oldest national parks and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has been consistently targeted by the LRA in recent years, who have regularly conducted elephant poaching missions ordered by Joseph Kony, who then trades trafficked ivory tusks for weapons and other supplies.
+Hausse de la violence par la LRA dans l’est de la RCA en 2016, y compris l’enlèvement de dizaine d’enfants
+Les attaques et les enlèvements de la LRA persistent au Congo, motivés par le braconnage des éléphants
+Malgré des défections de haut profils, moins de combattants de la LRA s’échappent ses dernières années
+Des signes que la structure de commande de la LRA se fragmente
En 2015, les forces de l’Armée de Résistance du Seigneur (LRA) étaient actives en République Centrafricaine (RCA), dans la République Démocratique du Congo (Congo/RDC), au Soudan du Sud, et dans l’enclave disputée de Kafia Kingi à la frontière entre le Soudan et le Soudan du Sud. La LRA a enlevé 612 personnes dans 203 attaques en 2015, une légère diminution par rapport à 2014, bien que le nombre d’enlèvements était plus élevé qu’ils ne l’étaient en 2012 ou 2013.
In 2015, Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) forces were active in the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo), South Sudan, and in Sudanese-controlled areas of South Darfur and the disputed Kafia Kingi enclave. The LRA abducted 612 people in 203 attacks in 2015, a slight reduction compared to 2014, though the number of abductions was higher than in both 2012 and 2013.
+ Surge in LRA violence in eastern CAR in 2016, including abduction of dozens of children
+ LRA attacks and abductions persist in Congo, driven by elephant poaching
+ Despite high profile defections, fewer LRA fighters escaping in recent years
+ Presence of LRA splinter group in northeastern Congo
In 2015, Joseph Kony’s fighters abducted 103 people in Central African Republic (CAR). In just the first three weeks of 2016, they’ve already abducted 94 individuals. Below, our colleague Paul Ronan of the LRA Crisis Initiative provides his analysis for the sudden and extremely concerning surge in LRA activities.