Torit1955’s Weblog

Just another WordPress.com weblog

Posts Tagged ‘LRA

Uganda: Laying Ghost and Making Peace

leave a comment »



Uganda: Laying Ghosts and Making Peace

e

Uganda: Laying Ghost and Making Peace

Jon Greenwald

18 December 2008


Juba — “They are ghosts behind trees. You don’t see them until they come up behind you.”

Sitting in the afternoon sun of a dusty courtyard in Juba, this overgrown African village that is now Southern Sudan’s capital, a veteran humanitarian worker explained how the roughly 1,000 insurgents belonging to the Lord’s Resistance Army – the LRA – continue to defy four states and keep millions in distress in east central Africa.

The LRA is unsurpassed for violence against civilians, including killings, rapes and kidnappings of children who are turned into soldiers and sex slaves. Its leader, Joseph Kony, claims to communicate with God and fight for his Acholi tribe of Northern Uganda, but many of the crimes have been committed against those same people.

Two years ago, there was a sliver of optimism after Kony’s representatives and the Ugandan government began to negotiate peace in this town. But the process seems at a dead end. On 29 November Kony again failed to come out of the bush to sign the deal at the appointed hour — his fourth “no-show” in seven months.

Understandably, patience has worn thin among those trying to seal peace: Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, the special UN representative, the Southern Sudan vice president who facilitated negotiations and donors like the U.S.

Peace is still possible, but only if three truths are recognised. First, the Juba agreements are deficient in two ways. The LRA is no longer really just an issue for Northern Uganda. Since it moved operations to Sudan, established a base in the Congo’s Garamba Park and began to raid in the Central African Republic, its composition has changed radically. Probably more than half its fighters are now Sudanese. Even if Kony wants to sign – by no means certain – they probably would not let him.

Moreover, Kony and several top commanders have been indicted for atrocity crimes by the International Criminal Court. His desire to escape trial and prison in The Hague likely helped bring the LRA into negotiations, but now the threat of legal action could be keeping him in hiding. Uganda is preparing his trial by a special division of its High Court under circumstances that could ultimately persuade the International Criminal Court and UN Security Council to set aside the international indictments. But no one has adequately described terms to the reclusive Kony.

The UN and the African Union should jointly mandate a special representative to try shuttle diplomacy directly with Kony over terms for the LRA’s Sudanese elements similar to those offered his Ugandans and about guarantees for his fair trial in Africa.

Likely nothing will persuade Kony to allow his fighters to be disarmed and to submit himself to a legal process that would expose him to long prison time. The second need, therefore, is to quarantine the LRA so it cannot return to Uganda and is no longer on call if Sudan’s long-ruling National Congress Party decides to destabilise elections in Southern Sudan next year or revoke its promise to allow the South to vote on independence in 2011.

No conceivable force in the region has the capability to wipe out these “ghost” guerrillas. But they could be kept in their isolated Garamba stronghold by a screening force of AU or UN peacekeepers around that park and along the common border areas of Sudan, Congo and the Central African Republic, perhaps with contributions from states like Kenya, which has Luo speaking-soldiers who can communicate with LRA fighters.

Finally, Northern Uganda is quiet – for now. The LRA never represented its people, but there are bitter feelings in the North of victimisation, disenfranchisement and marginalisation. The Juba protocols promise a new deal that the Musevini government says it will carry out whether or not Kony signs, but its record is not encouraging.

Here is where donor countries are essential. They must keep Kampala to its word and not, as Washington has tended to do, take the increasingly undemocratic Museveni at face value because of his anti-terrorism stance.

Pressure needs to be applied so a promised stakeholders conference becomes a vehicle for Northerners to share in planning and executing a reconstruction program that could otherwise become a regime pork barrel and land grab, and so a truth and reconciliation commission can reveal not only LRA but also army misdeeds in the long conflict.

If these actions are taken, the LRA will no longer be a threat, even if Kony hides from justice. Otherwise, the “ghost” soldiers will still haunt the borderlands, and one day a new insurgency is likely to arise in Northern Uganda.

Advertisements

Written by torit1955

December 19, 2008 at 5:17 am

Posted in Conflit Resolution and Security

Tagged with

LRA: updf Occupies Kony’s Camps; But where is Kony

leave a comment »

UPDF occupies Kony’s camps

Grace Matsiko

Kampala

They found traces of blood, burnt out huts and signs of human activity but no sign, whatsoever, of LRA rebel leader Joseph Kony.
UPDF Special Forces yesterday arrived at the camps destroyed by Sunday’s bombing in the jungles of the Democratic Republic of Congo but could neither give details of casualties or the whereabouts of the rebel fighters.

Not even the commando unit of the UPDF special forces, the first military element to enter Kony’s command post at Camp ‘Kiswahili’, about 90km North of Dungu in the vast Garamba jungle, could trace the whereabouts of the LRA rebel leader yesterday afternoon, according to various UPDF officers Daily Monitor spoke to but, who could not be quoted because of the sensitivity of the matter.
cover_126.jpg
WHERE IS HE? LRA leader Joseph Kony holds his daughter, Lacot, and son, Opiyo, at peace negotiations on November 30. REUTERS PHOTO

“Our ground troops from the commando unit reached the biggest LRA camp. They have not found any bodies or wounded persons although there is evidence that a considerable number was wounded or killed at the scene during the air strikes,” Capt. Chris Magezi, the spokesman for the UPDF operation code-named Operation ‘Lightning Thunder’ said.

He said nine sub-machine guns (SMGs) and four anti-personnel mines were recovered. The spokesman said there was likelihood that the rebels carried away the dead or wounded and concealed them between the air strikes and the time the ground troops reached the scene.

The army could not explain how rebels under intense attack would find time to conceal dead bodies or carry away the wounded.
But Defence State Minister Ruth Nankabirwa said, those who have doubts about the raid should wait for the pictures of the attacks including the dead.

“As much as we are eager to tell Ugandans the number of casualties, we are constrained to do so because the camps were completely destroyed and people were killed,” the minister said.
The practice after military operations is to take the press to the scene to record first hand accounts other than depending on pictures or information supplied by the military.

“The six abductees who were rescued near the camp said they jumped over bodies as they escaped,” Capt. Magezi said.
He said six Congolese and Central Africans, aged between 11 and 17, were rescued from the gardens of sweet potatoes, rice, groundnuts, simsim, cassava and beans around the camp.

Ms Nankabirwa said Kony’s female bodyguard, who was abducted from the Central African Republic, surrendered to the UPDF.
Daily Monitor could not independently verify the army claims.

But Ms Nankabirwa said the essence of the strikes is to put pressure on Kony to come out and sign the peace deal if he is still alive. “Since we went in, he has not engaged our troops. We are just hitting him, he does not respond,” she added.

The commandos under Maj. Noel Mwesigye, aboard the military helicopters were parachuted in the radius of between five to 10km from the camp and they crawled into the deserted expanse.

Capt. Magezi said in the camp the forces found guns, explosives, a generator, granaries stuffed with food, saucepans, clothes and other personal effects.

“The forces moved through acres and acres of food crops, which is a sign that Kony has been using abductees as slaves to cultivate the food,” Capt. Magezi said.

But like Army and Defence spokesman Paddy Ankunda, Magezi could not say whether Kony was in the camp at the time of the attack.
“We are trying to verify some reports. Give us some time to do that,” Maj. Ankunda said. Neither Defence Minister Crispus Kiyonga, nor the Chief of Defence Forces, Gen. Aronda Nyakairima, could be got for comment.

But the Governor of Central Equatoria state, which covers Juba city, Maj. Gen. Clement Wani Konga, has warned of imminent attack by the LRA rebels following the military offensive.
The attack on LRA camps was launched jointly by the Southern Sudan, DR Congo and UPDF.

Gen. Wani issued the warning in the state council meeting on Monday, which reviewed the security situation in the region with emphasis on taking precautionary measures by the population, the Sudan Tribune reported yesterday.

Gen. Wani, who also chairs the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) party in the state, asked the council to mobilise the citizens to fight back if the rebels attack the area. As the offensive continued yesterday, Resolve Uganda, a US-based organisation that monitors human rights in the North, called for the international community to act decisively to ensure that operations target LRA leaders only.

WHERE IS HE? LRA leader Joseph Kony holds his daughter, Lacot, and son, Opiyo, at peace negotiations on November 30. REUTERS PHOTO

WHERE IS HE? LRA leader Joseph Kony holds his daughter, Lacot, and son, Opiyo, at peace negotiations on November 30. REUTERS PHOTO

The call comes as the United Nations Security Council prepares for a briefing this week by Mr Joaquim Chissano, the UN envoy to regions affected by the rebels.

“We must not forget that this is an army comprised primarily of children being held against their will whose lives also hang in the balance,” said Mr Michael Poffenberger, Resolve Uganda executive director.

Human Rights Watch (HRW), an international rights group, said all parties should respect international humanitarian law and LRA leaders accused of war crimes who surrender or are captured should be brought to trial.

“There is a history of grave abuses against civilians by every belligerent force operating in eastern Congo, including foreign armies,” said Ms Elise Keppler, senior counsel with HRW’s International Justice Programme in a statement on Tuesday.

“All commanders involved in this operation should ensure that their troops rigorously obey the laws of war,” she added.

Written by torit1955

December 18, 2008 at 9:36 pm

Has Attack on LRA Failed? Acholi MPs Claim UPDF Hit Empty LRA Camps

leave a comment »

UPDF hit empty LRA camps – MPs

Yasiin Mugerwa, Risdel Kasasira & Sheila Naturinda

The Acholi Parliamentary Group yesterday accused the UPDF of bombing deserted rebel camps as opposition grew against the military offensive launched Sunday.

Addressing a press conference at Parliament yesterday, MP Mr Reagan Okumu (Aswa, FDC) said, “We have reliable information that the UPDF attacked empty camps; the LRA had left the area as the rebels had already been alerted two days before the operation.”

Citing unnamed sources, the MP added, “They could have killed innocent civilians who were abducted because the government failed to protect them. The most unfortunate thing is the indiscriminate bombardment which is going on in Congo.”

Pushed to explain the veracity of his information, Mr Okumu said, “I am the shadow minister for foreign affairs and I have sources within the UPDF, South Sudan, and Congo and in many other countries. Whoever wants to challenge this information should come out but I once again assure you that UPDF bombarded empty camps.”

But Mr Okumu’s appears to contradict himself when he says the army bombed empty camps and at the same time claims they could have killed innocent civilians.

Mr Okumu’s statement was dismissed by State Minister for Defence Ruth Nankabirwa the operation spokesman, Capt. Chris Magezi. “That is absolutely nonsense,” he said. “The air strikes were part of our operation plan and they will remain part of that plan until we accomplish our mission,” Capt. Magezi told Daily Monitor via satellite telephone from his Dungu base in DRC.

north-leaders.jpg

SOLIDARITY: L-R: MPs Reagan Okumu, Okello Okello and Akello Franca address journalists in Kampala. PHOTO BY STEPHEN WANDERA

The opposition to the war by the northern MPs is unlikely to result in a troop recall but could cost the army local support should the theatre of war return to northern Uganda. The UPDF, assisted by the Sudanese People’s Liberation Army and the Congolese army, on Sunday launched air strikes against suspected rebel positions in north east Democratic Republic of Congo following the repeated failure of LRA rebel leader Joseph Kony to sign a peace deal.

The infantry and other support troops including newly created special forces were later deployed to hunt down rebel fighters but no details of casualties on either side were available by press time yesterday.

There was also no independent information about the whereabouts of Kony who had earlier been reported by government sources to be headed towards the Central African Republic. “We do not know where Kony is,” Foreign Minister Sam Kutesa told a press conference in Kampala yesterday. “But within a few days or hours the Special Forces will be at the scene to assess the situation.”

He added that any collateral damage caused by the bombings could only be assessed after ground troops arrive at the scene and revealed plans to keep the rebels from filtering back into Uganda. “We understand the fears, but we call upon the northern Uganda leadership to assure people in the area that they are secure,” he said.

In Parliament, State Minister for Defence, Ruth Nankabirwa told MPs that all air strikes against the LRA were on target. She was justifying the decision by the UPDF, SPLA and DRC forces to attack LRA camps in Dungu . She thanked the DR Congo and South Sudan governments for allowing Uganda fighter jets to refuel on their territory.)

The Minister for Security, Mr Amama Mbabazi, said the attack on Kony was initiated by the Congolese government after his  Lords Resistance Army started killing Congolese civilians, a position that had earlier been repeated by Mr Kutesa who said the LRA had displaced about 17,000 DRC civilians, and abducted women and children. “Kony had exported the atrocities he was committing in Uganda to Congo,” Mr Mbabazi told Parliament, as the government rallied the Ms for support.

Despite the call from government, MPs from northern Uganda, which suffered the brunt of the two-decade LRA insurgency, maintained opposition to the renewed military offensive.
Reading from a joint statement, the chairman of the Acholi Parliamentary Group, Livingstone Okello-Okello (Chwa, UPC) yesterday questioned the government’s moral authority to attack the LRA over Kony’s failure to sign the comprehensive Peace Agreement when President Museveni has not yet signed the agreement in question.

“We are vehemently opposed to the joint military operation against the LRA because 99 per cent of these rebels and their wives, not to mention the children born in the bush, were abducted,” Mr Okello-Okello said. “It’s double crime for the state of Uganda to follow the abducted people and destroy them in the bush.”

He added: “To destroy thousands of lives in order to get rid of three LRA commanders is totally unacceptable. It is a crime against humanity bordering on genocide. The LRA should also exercise maximum restraint and stop looting and abducting in the DRC and Southern Sudan.

The statement called upon Uganda, DR Congo and South Sudan to halt the operation h and revert to the peace process as the only way forward. “The military option has failed to resolve the conflict for 20 years,” the statement said.

Opposition to the renewed offensive grew stronger in the day when MPs from West Nile, Lango and Acholi regions issued a joint condemnation of the attack on LRA and demanded for the resumption of peace talks.

The Greater North Parliamentary Forum statement signed by the  secretary general, MP Hassan Kaps Fungaroo (Obongi, FDC) also appealed to the government to lobby for the withdrawal of the International Criminal Court indictments against LRA commanders.

Mr Kutesa said yesterday that Kony and his commanders would get amnesty if they surrendered to the UPDF but would be handed over to the ICC if captured in combat.

Written by torit1955

December 17, 2008 at 10:04 am

Attack On LRA: Acholi MPs Oppose Renewed Offesive

leave a comment »

Acholi MPs oppose renewed offensive

Risdel Kasasira
Kampala

The chairman of Acholi Parliamentary Group, Livingston Okello-Okello said last night that the Acholi sub-region is against the renewed offensive against the LRA rebels because many of the rebel fighters are abductees. “Over 99 per cent of the LRA fighters are abductees,” Mr Okello told Daily Monitor, “therefore we oppose and condemn [the attack].”

Mr Okello said Kony has been a problem to the DRC after fleeing northern Uganda and being forced out of Southern Sudan “I wonder why they had to follow him in Garamba”.

Mwambutsya Ndebesa, a political scientist from Makerere University, described the joint operation between UPDF, SPLA and DRC as a new era in the region’s geopolitics. “It is something new and positive to see a concerted effort against negative forces,” he said.

Yesterday’s attack follows a decision reached at a high-powered meeting of all security chiefs in the region held last June in an undisclosed venue in Uganda.

Uganda’s Chief of Defence Forces Gen. Aronda Nyakairima chaired the meeting that was attended by his Congolese counterpart Gen. Amuri, other Congolese generals, a MONUC officer and SPLA military chiefs.

Written by torit1955

December 17, 2008 at 9:50 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,

Attack On LRA:STATEMENT TO PARLIAMENT ON STATUS OF THE PEACE TALKS BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA AND THE LORDS RESISTANCE ARMY (LRA)

leave a comment »

Defence Minister Full Statement to Parliament on the Military Operation in DRC

STATEMENT TO PARLIAMENT ON STATUS OF THE PEACE TALKS BETWEEN THE GOVERNMENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF UGANDA AND THE LORDS RESISTANCE ARMY (LRA)

Presented by Minister of State for Defence Ruth Nankabirwa

Mr. Speaker Sir,  Hon. Members,

1. You will recall that on 26th August 2006, Government and the LRA signed the Cessation of Hostilities Agreement under which the LRA were to assemble in two places, Owiny-Ki-Bul in Eastern Equatoria and Rwikwangba in Western Equatoria. On 14th April 2007, following LRA’s failure to assemble in any of the two areas, the parties agreed that LRA assembles in Rwikwangba, Western Equatoria, Southern Sudan.

2. The LRA has not, up to now, assembled. Instead, they have continued killing innocent Congolese and Sudanese citizens, abducting and forcefully conscripting into their fcrce.

3. Colleagues will also recall that 10 April, 2008 was agreed and set as the date for signing of the Final Peace Agreement. Joseph Kony never showed up on that day for the ceremony. H.E. President Museveni on his part, travelled to Juba as previously scheduled.

4. After a number of consultations, Cultural, Religious and Political Leaders travelled on appointment, to Rikwangba to meet Joseph Kony. They stayed there for a week and came back without Kony showing up. After this, the Peace Talks stalled.

5. Eventually, the Chief Mediator, H.E. Riek Machar, Vice President of the Government of Southern Sudan, supported the UN SecretaryGeneral’s special Envoy to the LRA affected Areas, convened a Stakeholders Meeting in Kampala on 5 November 2008. The Meeting was attended by a delegation of Southern Sudan Officials, the African and International delegates observing the Peace Process, the delegations of the LRA and the Government of Uganda, Political, Cultural and Religious Leaders and Civil Society Representatives and Uganda’s Development Partners.

During this meeting, the Stakeholders strongly urged “the LRA to desist from carrying out any further attacks, and unconditionally sign the final peace agreement before the end of November 2008” The LRA was further urged “to assemble in accordance with the Provisions of the Agreement and thereafter ensure the earliest release of children in accordance with clause 2.11 of the Agreement on Disarmament Demobilization and Reintegration “)

6. After consultations that were held between the LRA, the Office of the UN Special Envoy, the Government of Southern Sudan and Uganda Government, November 29th was set as the date for Kony’ s signing of the Final Peace Agreement. H.E. Yoweri Museveni was scheduled to sign the Agreement in Juba on Tuesday 2nd December 2008. Arrangements for the ceremony were made. For example, on LRA’s request, four truck-loads of food items were delivered at the assembly area for the Signing Ceremony. 8.

7. THE SIGNING CEREMONY THAT WAS SCHEDULED FOR 29 NOVEMBER 2008

7.1 On 29th November 2008 the UN Special envoy, the Peace Talks Secretariat, Cultural, Religious and Political Leaders, the Government delegation, African and other International delegates observing the Peace Process and some representatives of Uganda’s development partners traveled to Nabanga on the way to Rikwangba, the LRA assembly area where the ceremony was scheduled to take place.

7.2 After a lot of hardships, the LRA delegation, Cultural, Religious and Political Leaders met Joseph Kony and some Members of the LRA High command. Those  who  went  for these  meetings reported embarrassing and degrading treatment by the LRA. They were subjected to body searches and many of their valuables e.g. spectacles, watches, money, mobile phones, hankies, rosaries, wedding rings e.t.c. were taken away. Some of these items were not returned. They also reported that the LRA alleged that they were not aware of the Final Peace agreement signing ceremony.

Given this state of affairs, a combined Force of UPDF, SPLA and the Congolese Government Forces (FARDC), on Sunday 14th December 2008, launched an air strike against LRA Camps in Garamba. All the attacks were on target. UPDF shall however give details later, the operation in continuing. The aim is to force Joseph Koriy to go to the assembly area and to sign the Agreement.

We are grateful for the support of the DRC and Southern Sudan that have allowed us to use the airport for refueling and as staging points for operations. The operation was agreed upon and coordinated at the highest political levels of the three countries.

We advise Joseph Kony to go to Rwikwangba Assembly Area. If he does so, nobody will attack him there. We also call on him to sign the Agreement and to release all the children, a demand he has been ignoring.

Mrs. Speaker sir and Hon. Members, I wish to conclude by assuring all Ugandans that the prevailing peace in Northern Uganda will not be disturbed.

Written by torit1955

December 17, 2008 at 9:43 am

Posted in Conflit Resolution and Security

Tagged with ,

Uganda: How Assault on LRA Was Executed

leave a comment »

How the attack was planned, executed

Grace Matsiko, Risdel Kasasira & Paul Amoru

Kampala

Sunday’s lightning raid by a joint force of Ugandan, Congolese and South Sudanese forces on Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army rebel camps was the culmination of months of preparation by the UPDF as a Plan B in case the Juba peace talks failed, Daily Monitor can reveal.

UPDF Attack of LRA Bases in Garamba National Park - 15 December 2008

UPDF Attack of LRA Bases in Garamba National Park - 15 December 2008

Many of the military drills for the exercise were done in Barlege in Lira, in Kitgum, in Gulu and Singo military training camp in Mubende, according to officers who participated in the preparations spanning over six months.

The crack unit now deployed in the jungles of the Democratic Republic of Congo to hunt for Kony comprised several elements of the UPDF. The combat troops were picked from the air force, armoured brigade, intelligence, commando unit, marines and paratroopers.

Military sources, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter, told Daily Monitor that preparations for ‘Plan B’ began in June when President Museveni issued an order recalling Brig. Patrick Kankiriho from the UPDF 3rd Division in Moroto, where he was a division commander, to camp in Pader.

He was later followed by Lt. Col. Muhoozi Kainerugaba, the First son who is also the commander of the Special Forces after he was discharged from the Presidential Guard Brigade to join the regular forces. The Chief of Staff of the Air Force, Col. Moses Rwakitarate, an equally young and energetic officer was drafted onto the team.

Meanwhile, the troops on the border regions, including those inside Sudan, were put under a new group in the UPDF that has come to be called the “new generation”. Most of the commanders in this group are said to be in their 40s and fairly better trained and educated than the older generation of army officers.

The military preparations were boosted by defections from the LRA ranks and bloody internal purges among its officers which saw the execution of Kony’s erstwhile deputy, Vincent Otti.

Under pressure from the international community, especially the United States, Kampala, Juba and Kinshasa then signed an agreement that would allow joint cross-border operations against rebel groups in the region.

This meant that the UPDF could follow the LRA across the border into DR Congo where the rebels had set up camp in the jungles of Garamba National Park, protected by the harsh terrain, the several thousand kilometres from Uganda’s borders, and the incompetence of the poorly armed, trained and paid DR Congo army.

At a meeting of regional security chiefs earlier in the year, different tasks were given to different actors and other countries in the Great Lakes region affected by activities of the LRA. Monuc forces pledged medical, food and other logistics for the foot soldiers of the United Front against Kony and his commanders, sources told Daily Monitor, while the UPDF and SPLA were tasked to provide intelligence for the mission. The Congolese forces were to take part in combat operations against the rebels.

With the pieces of the puzzle finally coming together, only one piece remained elusive; a peace deal had been agreed and a date – November 30 – pencilled in for Kony to sign. The more pacifist countries among the international community involved in the talks insisted on giving peace one more chance.

The United States had already shown its impatience with the stop-go nature of the talks earlier in the year when its top diplomat on Africa, Ms Jendayi Frazer said Washington would not sit by and watch while Kony re-armed in Garamba.

After one of his numerous no-shows at a signing ceremony in South Sudan, the US ambassador to Kampala, Mr Steven Browning said: “This latest failure to sign, combined with recent atrocities committed by the LRA in eastern Congo, indicate that the LRA leadership is not committed to peace. This in turn calls into question the value of continuing the efforts of regional and international facilitators to advance the Juba peace process.”

After Kony failed to turn up, yet again, on November 30 the pin finally dropped.
Early on Sunday, months of military preparation gave way to action when UPDF fighter jets took off from Yambio in the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation Army (SPLA)-controlled territory of South Sudan and attacked LRA bases in Suke, Pilipili, Nyere, Garamba park and Bayoute, all in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Other attack helicopters swooned in from Dungu, where a DR Congo army brigade under the command of Col. Muhindo Mundosi has a base. As the air raids pounded rebel bases, infantry units closed in from Dungu, Yambio, Iba, Yei and Maridi, military sources said.

The rebel camps that came under lightning attacks were covering a distance of close to 100km.
Capt Chris Magezi, the operation’s spokesman, said Central African Republic was supportive of the UPDF operations in the area but could not commit forces because of internal problems.

Details of casualties on either side were not available by press time yesterday but this latest offensive, with its regional support and international backing, albeit covert, offers countries in the region the best chance to defeat one of the most notorious armed groups in the Great Lakes region. If successful, it could offer a working model for joint cross-border operations against other armed groups in the region.

Military options against LRA will end in fiasco.

leave a comment »

In response to the tripartite military operations involving Uganda, Congo an South Sudan forces against LRA in Garamba forest Congo, Boutrus Biel present a grim scenario of the possible reactions of Joseph Kony through the resort to his gruesome tactics of spreading his forces out thinly, return to Sudan and targeting soft targets including poorly defended areas and citizens, a repeat of his usual modus operandi.


Military options against LRA will end in fiasco.

By: Boutros Biel

December 14, 2008

E-mail: bboutrosb@yahoo.com

For those who won’t let mine be part of their analysis, I will have names forged or invented, however, at the end of the opposition, truth will emerge for this argument and that is my belief and along with other optimists here and there. “Those who forget history are condemned to repeat it” said George S. If only to best recall my experience of the Lord Resistance Army’s alleged crimes while in Uganda. Those painful days when Mr. Opio of the UNHCR Pakelle-Adjumani base was gunned down by the same Konyi’s Last Ruthless Aim {LRA}.

LRA soldiers keep guard at the assembly point in Ri-Kwangba on the Sudan-Congo border, Western Equatoria, April 10, 2008. (Reuters)

LRA soldiers keep guard at the assembly point in Ri-Kwangba on the Sudan-Congo border, Western Equatoria, April 10, 2008. (Reuters)

As if that was not enough, my own teacher, Engineer Tobia Odwa from ‘Kocoa Seminary’ was let permanently go along the same Gulu-Adjumani road. Those series of atrocities were committed by the LRA in the face of so called Uganda People’s Defence Forces {UPDF} and I don’t think if there’s anyone to convince the Southern Sudanese exile returnees from Uganda that dealing with LRA militarily is an easy ride solution to the regional atrocities committed. Madi of Nimule or those who had been to Eastern Equatoria in places like Parjok, Magwi, name them and of late the Kajo-Keji citizens plus Western Equatorians combined, in honesty, can be perfect witnesses to my assertion. LRA led by the same man Joseph Konyi has not changed anything per se. The group is still as it was in the beginning and now as it shall always be with its terror without end.

The former Catholic man’s army is tuned to wipe whoever his spirits direct to hook off {I wonder why the Catholic Church doesn’t revoke his Christian name ‘Joseph’ and equally excommunicate him from the mother church}!. The ICC arrest warrant is a possible obstacle to the Final Peace Agreement expected between Museveni-led government and Kony-manuveuvred group however, Joseph Konyi, the man would have challenged Museveni to the greatest heights had he{Konyi}signed on November 29th, 2008 the Final Peace Agreement. Museveni would have no excuses over withdrawing the ICC thing from the Haque. For Joseph Konyi, as of now whichever way, the risks on his own life are very high. If he doesn’t sign, he would remain in the bushes of Southern Sudan exchanging the location with that of DR. Congo and Central African Republic and not as a free as he assumes but as the most insecure man ever known on earth.

LRA as usual kills indiscriminately and that’s why Konyi didn’t spare his own right hand man Vincent Otti———his own deputy over years who managed to survive with him under worst UPDF hunts even when those LRA members like Sam Okolo their spokesman betrayed their cause. Otti remained loyal to Konyi and LRA command but unfortunately Konyi slaughtered him instantly. GoSS Vice President Riek Machar has been one of the patient guys to see sense of persuading LRA through diplomacy other than barrel of the guns but there are majority in Juba and Kampala who doesn’t see the wisdom of this tactful dealing emphasized by Dr. Machar. The impatient and incalculable group had long wanted to deal away with Konyi militarily little did anyone imagine what would be the repercussion of dealing gun-fully with a mafia of confused and objective less group whose composition leaves a lot to be desired.

When the SPLA and the Uganda People’s Defence Forces{UPDF} plus that orphan army left in the hands of young Joseph Kabila so desire to attack LRA militarily as they have just done, then the entire Equatoria region and Juba itself ought to prepare henceforth to meet the real devil. LRA would go back to its old evil tactics of moving in series of twos, twenty, threes, etc. They will cause havocs between Nimule-Juba road, Yei-Kaya and Yei-Juba roads. They will also stage ambushes to civilian and humanitarian vehicles along Torit-Juba road. Places like Gulu-Attiak-Adjumani, Pakwach-Karuma roads in Uganda would become insecure again. Abductions will become the order of the day. South Sudan, DR Congo and Central African Republic combined will become battlefields. Neither the SPLA nor the UPDF would be able to contain the situation. One would ask simply; ‘how can big and well equipped armies like UPDF and SPLA fail to defeat the tiny ill-armed rebel group led by uneducated former catechist Konyi? The answer is simple, LRA if came directly to fight, either the SPLA or the UPDF would wipe them in very short time but that has not been the case. The styles used by LRA are ever of amusement to both armies.

The LRA uses methods like ‘shoot’ ‘kill’, ‘spoil’ and ‘go’! How many UPDF soldiers had the LRA killed in Northern Uganda? How many SPLA soldiers did the LRA murder in Nimule and most parts of Eastern Equatoria? Honest answers can be frankly found with the SPLA and UPDF soldiers who one day witnessed the LRA atrocities. Therefore, it’s my humble opinion that Museveni-Konyi Peace Talks brokered by South Sudan number 2 Dr. Riek Machar must not be left. This Last Ruthless Aim {LRA} is worst than corruption in Southern Sudan and will take many lives if allowed to go back to its many years’ madness. Those non analysts who mislead GoSS leadership must not discourage its Vice President Riek Machar. General Salva Kiir must not be misadvised to discard his own child {Museveni-Konyi Peace Initiative} which the General had much worked to make available through his deputy Riek Machar. History has shown that only few managed to take pride to outnumber rebel movement through the barrel of the gun. As we are all aware of, war is very expensive and dealing with LRA militarily is very expensive business which neither South Sudan nor Uganda, DR Congo and CAR combined will escape its evil fruits if so desired to choose the unknown side of the coin.

When the first bullet is re-fired on LRA, then Bashir-Konyi relationship would take double face. Janjaweed in form of Ambororo being in Western and Central Equatoria lands will by Khartoum be armed to teeth and may probably join hand with any devil for the worst. South Sudan will be engaged in avoidable unnecessary wars. It will be difficult for the GoSS leadership to function effectively in Juba. As consequence, citizens would lose interest in their government due to rampant insecurity much as prevalent circumstances will portray GoSS as being incapable to protect its own citizens . Cattle rustlings would be rampant in Jonglei, Lakes and Eastern Equatoria states simply because insecurity will be very high as SPLA will be engaged in non objective war with LRA. Those being non patriotic and irresponsible nationalists will double their grab for public property—by that point in time, it will be very difficult for General Salva Kiir Mayardit to clear-cut whether to continue declaring war on LRA or on corruption. VP Machar would have been discouraged very long time ago and would just sit in the towel to exercise his gentlemanship for the sake of peace and order within the SPLM and GoSS.

Those drunk now to fight LRA in order to cause insecurity and increase corruption in the South shall have gotten their lion share and already turned pretending to join the discontented citizens to level GoSS as if ‘a failed Government’——–hence critics would thus come up to say; ‘you see, didn’t we talk of it that GoSS under Salva Kiir and Riek Machar is unable government?’. The likes of Dr. Turabi would have been on the stage preaching slogans such as ‘look, southerners can’t manage to govern themselves’. Discontented Southern citizens due to insecurity and corruption plus other circumstances may consider 2011 referendum a forgone conclusion if not approached it with mixed or unprepared hearts and minds.

Against all this background, it’s now better to pursue LRA peacefully till they sign the Final Peace Agreement with their archenemy Museveni other than South Sudan being falsely lured to war that will later be hard to extinguish. The slogan that ‘’if you want peace, prepare for war’’ is irrelevant in the LRA case. The group has had no relevant objective and therefore, be handled with care—–peacefully and tactfully. Fellow Southerners, believe it that military option against LRA, will be a great miscalculation and unforgivable boomerang to South Sudan and GoSS which’s the sitting government of the day will leave to regr. ———–For president of the Republic of Uganda General Yoweri Kaguta Museveni, his country and his presidential guards have nothing to worry this time round as the most unpredictable war of LRA has been technically transferred to Southern Sudan and be fought here henceforth. However, it’s no of underestimation that the LRA will sneak back to Uganda and will possibly cause insecurity under the ‘hit’ and ‘run’ tactics with frequent roaming to and fro as the main battles will be wrestled in South Sudan. Is GoSS through SPLA really prepared to fight the war for others and moreover in Southern Sudan? It’s unfortunate indeed, that only a few of Southern Sudanese who are able to see while sitting what others are unable to project even when they are standing. Anybody listening there????? Let’s kick well, the ball is still up and the rest is left to the conventional wisdom of concerned Southerners!

Written by torit1955

December 15, 2008 at 9:28 am