REJUVENATED? LRA Commander Joseph Kony

In what might be seen as a resurgence of Joseph Kony, the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) has carried out hundreds of attacks over the past two years, to beef up his military strength.

According to officials of the Institute of Security Studies (ISS) and statistics from the Resolve LRA Crisis Initiative, the LRA carried out 200 attacks this year, in the process abducting 679 people including children and women. Earlier in 2015, the LRA reportedly carried out 198 attacks, killing 19 and abducting 662 people, a sign of resurgence.

However, the ISS avers that several factors including the diminishing support from Sudan have contributed significantly to the slow resurgence of the LRA.

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Writing under ‘The LRA rising again’? Peter Fabricius, an ISS Consultant said Kony’s military strength had been weakened from an estimated 20,000-strong force between 1987 and 2006, to about 300 in 2013.

As a result, attacks by the LRA dropped from 500 to between 150 and 160 from 2010 to 2013; killings from about 780 to 40 and abductions from 1500 to 500 over the three year period.

He attributed the LRA weakening to the formation of the Regional Coordination Initiative (RCI) and its military arm the Regional Task Force (RTF), the Africa Union-led initiatives to eliminate the marauding LRA in Uganda, the Central Africa Republic (CAR), South Sudan, the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and in Sudan.

Martin Ewi, an ISS researcher attributed the superficial LRA resurgence to the inadequate resources of the RTF, including insufficient training, equipment and inadequate intelligence capability.

According to Ewi, the 5000-strong RTF that is supported by the US Africa Command (Africom) and other regional states including Uganda that has a 40 percent military presence, is not enough to cover the wide areas covered by the marauding LRA.

According to Africom and the Resolve LRA Crisis Initiative, Kony currently has 200 troops reporting to him, but Ewi has warned that ‘unless more support was thrown behind the RTF by the international community and by other AU countries, Kony and the LRA could regain their former numbers and strength’.

Following a sustained military campaign by the National Resistance Army (NRA) and its successor the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) spanning 20 years, the LRA was ejected from Uganda, with the outfit’s combatants scattering all over the region.

Since then they have wracked havoc in a number of countries in the region, prompting international interventions, with the US providing 100 Special Forces to hunt down the elusive Kony who waged a war in northern Uganda that claimed the lives of over 100,000 people.





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