Skip to comments.US joins Uganda for "final battle" against vicious LRA
Posted on 01/07/2012 3:30:02 PM PST by Pan_Yan
Kampala - Ugandan and US military officials are confident the end is nigh for the brutal Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), a group that has been avoiding head-on battles for over a quarter of a century while leaving carnage in its wake.
The two countries have teamed up to tackle the LRA, a rebel movement that originated in Uganda during the country's civil war in the 1980s. After suffering defeats in Uganda in recent years, remaining LRA forces have moved into the poor and often dysfunctional Central African Republic (CAR), still carrying out attacks that often employ a scorched earth policy, burning villages to the ground after killing and pillaging.
'We are getting into the final battle against the LRA and increasing our airborne capability with the help of our American friends. (Leader Joseph) Kony will be killed soon,' Uganda's army spokesman Colonel Felix Kulayigye told dpa.
Some analysts, however, are sceptical of the joint military operation and warn that the LRA, even in its weakened state, may be organized enough to survive the death of Kony.
Since the mid 1980s, the rebels have been killing, mutilating, raping and abducting thousands of people - sometimes in churches - in northern Uganda, the area now called South Sudan and north-east Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Up to 2 million people were displaced by the group as it went on rampages across eastern and central Africa, forcibly recruiting tens of thousands of children to fight for Kony and his bizarre ideology that mixes fanatical, messianic Christianity with obscure African mysticism. The recruited boys were made to fight while the young girls were used as sex slaves by the militants.
For a while, Kony stated he wanted to impose the biblical Ten Commandments on Uganda. The LRA leader, who referred to himself as god's spokesman, would retreat to caves, supposedly to consult the Holy Spirit and receive guidance.
His child soldiers were told to make a cross on their chest using oil, and that this would protect them from hails of enemy bullets. Along with four other LRA officials, Kony has been wanted since 2005 by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity. The US declared the LRA a terrorist group.
US troops are now training Ugandan forces in modern airborne war technology and have set up 'forward bases' in Nzara and Obbo in the CAR, where the LRA leader is hiding, Kulayigye said.
'In the past, we have been hampered with movement and skills in the delivery of supplies because the area is too large and the rebels have split up into groups of 10 to 20, making it difficult to engage them,' the Ugandan military spokesman said.
'Now we will be able to reach whatever area, dropping supplies using not only helicopters but any other aircraft,' Kulayigye said, but added that Washington is not providing planes to the Ugandan forces.
The US government in October announced that it was sending 100 soldiers to help Uganda's military fight the LRA. President Barack Obama said these forces would focus on training the Ugandans and were only sanctioned to open fire in self-defence.
'Uganda has been very tenacious and we all need to be able to support them because it is a pretty very big undertaking. I see that they will win in a short time,' said Margaret Woodward, the commander of the US Air Forces in Africa, during a recent visit.
Despite assurances from the US military about victory, Ugandan observers, wary of predictions that the vicious group's demise is imminent, question the certainty.
'The LRA may not be defeated easily due to other dynamics like an organized leadership which they have and which can outlive Kony once he is killed. They can regroup and continue the war,' said Mwambtsya Ndebesa, a historian.
Another academic, political science professor Sabiiti Makara told dpa that the US has its own interests at heart, as it seeks to ensure that Sudan cannot use the LRA to destabilize the newly independent South Sudan, a country Washington wants to keep as a regional ally.
'The move is strategic since the LRA has been classified as a terrorist organization which may link up with the government in Khartoum to fight South Sudan. The Americans will struggle to accomplish that,' he said. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, who has been in power since 1986,has battled the LRA since before he took the high office and has repeatedly accused Khartoum of aiding it.
Ugandan officials believe there are about 250 core LRA fighters holding out in CAR
The ironic thing is that the LRA vote democrat.
Obbo is in the south east corner of CAR; Nzara is in South Sudan near where the 5N mark is.
Our planes were bombing Libya, our drones were (are) flying strikes in Somalia. This would just be expansion of our selective enforcement of UN policy.
Is this a “war of necessity” . . . ?
None of our business. Money does not grow on trees these days. George Washington would not approve.
Our justification for this appears to be strictly humanitarian. If your looking for a legal justification I hope you are a believer in UN resolutions and the International Criminal Court. Curiously there seems to be little opposition to it in Washington. Both parties in Congress strongly support it.
If those rebels were Islamists, O would be supporting them.
If those rebels were Islamists, O would be supporting them.
And Congress voted for this war, when?
If you are looking at the links between people and organizations then Obama would seem to be on the LRA side. The LRA receives support from Sudan. Sudan's President Bashir is buddies with Obama's friend/relative Prime Minister Odinga of Kenya.
On top of that, the LRA operates in South Sudan, whose President, Salva Kiir, still wears the cowboy hat that George W. Bush gave him. Kiir is on his first visit to Israel, a country South Sudan is forming close ties with.
I guess Obama's love of the UN and using our troops to support international resolutions trumps all that.
Record-breaking level of Congressional support
Following introduction in May 2009 by Senator Russ Feingold (D-WI), Senator Sam Brownback (R-KS), Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA), Representative Ed Royce (R-CA) and Representative Brad Miller (D-NC), the bill gained an average of 20 cosponsors a month until passage the next year. The bill passed unanimously in the Senate on March 11th, 2010 with 65 Senators as cosponsors, then passed unanimously in the House of Representatives on May 13th, 2010 with 202 Representatives as cosponsors. These 267 Members of Congress helped bring to the President's desk the most widely cosponsored bill Africa-related piece of legislation in the last 37 years, or as far back as electronic records document.
Interesting fact #2:
“The US government in October announced that it was sending 100 soldiers to help Uganda's military fight the LRA.” Sounds like it only takes 100 of our military to “whoop” a big bunch of theirs. Just saying.....
Theoretically our troops are only providing training and logistical support so there isn't supposed to be any 'whooping' coming from us. Don't underestimate the LRA even though they are diminished. They have survived 25 years of being chased by the armies of four or five nations. In 2005 the UN sent in a bunch of Guatemalan special forces who are accustomed to jungle fighting. They suffered heavy losses. Yes, I know our troops are better than Guatemalan troops. But I also remember Mogadishu and Beirut.
Excellent points. Especially since I remember 1960 when we only sent a few advisers to Viet Nam...I suppose I was gloating about haw far 100 of our advisers can go. Nonetheless, I think a lot of African countries are waking up to the realization that they have many things the world wants; so perhaps this is why we are there?
The plan is to drop too few cases of the new Air Jordans into LRA encampments...
This joint project, developed by Invisible Children and Resolve, marks the first time data surrounding the crisis has been comprehensively aggregated and made publicly available. http://www.lracrisistracker.com/#updates
This is indirect support also for South Sudan, as LRA has made it very difficult for the returning South Sudanese, and for the aid organizations that have been helping them.
They are monsters. Whatever it takes to remove them from this earth, its a good thing.
That’s great. We’re going to short-dick every cannibal in the Congo.
Since the mid 1980s, the rebels have been killing, mutilating, raping and abducting thousands of people -- sometimes in churches -- in northern Uganda...During the same time frame, the Islamofascists were killing, mutilating, raping, abducting, and enslaving Christians and animists in southern Sudan.