DR Congo + 2 more

Uganda: Weekly Roundup: Dec. 18 - Jan. 8: LRA threat to repeat Christmas massacres is unfulfilled, but violence continues

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January 9th, 2010 by michael in: Conflict Watch, Main Site

While the LRA's threats to repeat last year's Christmas Massacres -- in which hundreds of Congolese were killed amidst holiday celebrations -- went largely unfulfilled, the rebel group nonetheless continued its campaign of violence over the Christmas break. LRA fighters attacked a remote village in DR Congo, killing dozens, and new reports released last week document their continued atrocities across the region, underscoring the urgency of perseverance for activists in 2010.

The Good: US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke today about the need for robust diplomatic engagement to reinforce the fragile peace in South Sudan and to stop address the ongoing violence there.

The Bad: A report released by major humanitarian groups this week documents a worrying surge in violence from the LRA and other sources in South Sudan in 2009, and warned that the escalation of conflicts there "would have devastating consequences that extend far beyond Southern Sudan.''

The Ugly: The UN human rights chief released new reports that called for the arrest of Joseph Kony and other indicted LRA commanders, and documented the inability of the South Sudanese and Congolese armies to protect civilians from the LRA.

Regional Security

* The LRA attacked several remote villages in northeastern DR Congo two weeks ago, killing over a dozen people and injuring many others.

* In a recent report on LRA violence in South Sudan, the Enough Project details steps that UN peacekeepers and South Sudanese troops should take to better protect civilians.

* A senior Ugandan army official said that last week Ugandan troops killed a high-ranking LRA commander, Bok Abudema, in southeastern Central African Republic.

* Ugandan military sources claimed that within the past year, 56 LRA rebels have surrendered, 41 have been captured, over 300 have been killed. Ugandan military officials also claim that 500 LRA abductees have been rescued in the last year.

Situation in Northern Uganda

* 200,000 people remain in displaced persons camps in northern Uganda, according to a Ugandan government official. Although over a million have left the camps, recent droughts, a lack of basic services, and land conflicts remain pressing problems for many families.

* A Ugandan government minister criticized the proposed Anti-Homosexuality bill currently in the Ugandan parliament, calling it "unnecessary." The bill would apply the death penalty or life in prison for homosexual acts, and has met harsh criticism from the international community, including President Obama and US Senators and Representatives.

International Community

* The UN's human rights agency released two reports on LRA violence in DR Congo and South Sudan in the past year. The reports detail tactics LRA rebels have used in attacks, and also the failure of regional military forces to protect civilians from the LRA.

* The UN report stated that the international community and regional governments "should cooperate with the ICC to search for, arrest and surrender the LRA leaders accused of war crimes and crimes against humanity" while also supporting "meaningful peace efforts between governments in the region and the LRA."