Tuesday, March 6, 2012

LRA update

Sudan has crossed my radar several times in the past several days. And, as this is my journal, now it has crossed your radar. I really thought things were peaceful there after their divide into two separate countries. But between rebel factions, the Sudan army, the South Sudan army and the LRA things are far from peaceful.
The LRA, or Lord's Resistance Army used to be in Uganda but in the last few years they have been pushed out.
Joseph Kony is the leader of the cult-like rebel group responsible for Africa’s longest-running armed conflict. In its current state, the LRA is composed of several bands of fighters that are spread across an area roughly the size of California. Some of these groups are nearly autonomous and have limited contact with one another but ultimately answer to Joseph Kony and the LRA command structure. Due to increased awareness and global efforts to stop him, the entire fighting force of the LRA has been reduced from approximately 1,000 at the end of the Juba peace talks in 2008 to an estimated 300 fighters today, not counting the abducted women and children who are used as “wives” and porters. While their numbers have diminished over the years, their capacity for destruction continues to be disproportionately large.

After being forced out of northern Uganda in 2006, LRA groups are now scattered across the border regions of the Central African Republic (CAR), the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and South Sudan. By traveling in small groups through vast regions of jungle, they are able to attack vulnerable communities for supplies and abduct civilians while avoiding capture. They know how to take advantage of the bush that makes it so difficult for their pursuers to track them, and over the last two decades, the LRA fighters have become experts of survival and evasion.

Based on data collected during 2011, there were 284 reported LRA attacks (that’s an average of more than 5 per week), during which LRA forces reportedly killed 144 civilians and abducted 595 others (that’s 2.1 abductions per attack). Our statistics show a 32% reduction in attacks, killings, and abductions in 2011 compared to 2010, and an astounding 60% decrease in reported attacks between the first and second halves of 2011. Significantly, reports indicate that between July and September of 2011, Kony summoned all of the LRA commanders to rendezvous in CAR. That period roughly corresponds with when the frequency of LRA attacks began to decrease in 2011.

This information gathered and distributed by Invisible Children. For more information http://www.invisiblechildren.com/

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