DR Congo

DR Congo: Weekly Roundup for Oct. 18-24: UN SC condemns LRA activity, but attacks continue

October 27th, 2008 by paul

The Good: The UN Security Council released a presidential statement this week condemning the abduction of nearly 160 children in northeastern DR Congo by LRA rebels.

The Bad: Despite its strong words, the international community has yet to take action to stop the rebel attacks, which continued last weekend.

The Ugly: Three soldiers in the Ugandan military were arrested for a string of robberies in northern Uganda that targeted civilians who have left displacement camps and returned to their homes.

Regional Security

LRA attacks in northeastern DR Congo continued. Some local communities, frustrated that the Congolese military and UN peacekeepers have failed to confront the rebels, have organized self-defense militias to protect themselves. Last weekend at least 12 rebels and six civilians were killed after villagers organized to repel an LRA attack, raising concerns that violence in the region could escalate rapidly. (Click here to view a map showing recent LRA attacks).

A Congolese rebel group has reportedly established a camp in northwestern Uganda. The group is allegedly led by ex-officers of a notorious militia that was active in DR Congo's civil war and received support from the Ugandan government from 2003-2004.

The Uganda government has assured Congolese officials that it will not send its troops into eastern DR Congo to attack LRA rebels without the Congolese government's permission.

Situation on the Ground

Three Ugandan soldiers were arrested for a string of robberies in northern Uganda that targeted displaced persons who have returned to their homes. High rates of criminal activity in areas of return remain an obstacle facing people who hope to leave the crowded displacement camps.

International Response

The UN Security Council released a presidential statement concerning the resurgence of violence in eastern DR Congo. In it, the Council strongly condemned the recent LRA attacks in the DR Congo, mentioning specifically the recent abduction of nearly 160 children by the rebels.

The International Criminal Court (ICC) requested that the Congolese government provide it with an update on what actions it has taken to arrest top LRA leaders indicted by the Court for war crimes.

The ICC also announced that it plans to decide whether the case against LRA leaders should be "admissible" before the Court, a decision which could have ramifications on whether the indicted LRA leaders would be tried by the ICC or in Uganda (should they sign the Final Peace Agreement or be arrested). The Final Peace Agreement negotiated by the Ugandan government and LRA established a special division of Uganda's highest court to try top LRA leaders, which could take precedence over a trial directly by the Court.