SUDAN WATCH: Ugandan LRA are agents of forces who are against South Sudan's peace agreement

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Ugandan LRA are agents of forces who are against South Sudan's peace agreement

The following report from Sudan Radio Service in Malakal says that the current LRA attacks in Western Equatoria State are aimed at derailing the implementation of Southern Sudan's Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) and that the LRA are agents of people who would like the party and the government to fail and the CPA not be implemented. And one of the ways it can fail is to prevent the holding of elections in Western Equatoria and in Southern Sudan.

Although the source of the report is unverifiable, I am posting it here because its contents make more sense to me than any other report I have read on why Joseph Kony and his group of terrorists continue to be so well trained and equipped while remaining free to be on the rampage for the past 20 years.

As noted here a few days ago, Kony's Ugandan LRA is a well-ordered fighting force, whose senior officers have been trained by Sudan, Iran and Iraq.

However, looking at it in another way, the LRA sure is a convenient bogeyman to blame for the handiwork of other bandits and so-called janjaweed. One thing's for sure, we don't know half of what is really going on behind the scenes. Even after the past five years, reporters still aren't getting to the root of who is behind the rebel groups in Sudan and Chad.

Sudan reminds me of America's old Wild West in the days of cowboys and indians and gold diggers all fighting to stake a claim on the gold in them there hills. Never mind the poor natives who get in the way. Not to mention the Aborigines in Australia. Bah. Such is life. Very sad.

WES Official Claims LRA is an Agent of Anti-CPA Forces
Report from Sudan Radio (Malakal) 12 January 2009:
Western Equatoria State political advisor Paul Tambua claims that the Lord’s Resistance Army rebels are agents of forces who are against the CPA.

Tambua told Sudan Radio Service in Malakal last week that the current LRA attacks in Western Equatoria State were aimed at derailing the implementation of CPA in the region.

[Paul Tambua]: “The LRA are there, they are agents of other bodies who would like to interfere with the CPA, who would like to see to it that the implementation of CPA fails. And one of the ways it can fail is to prevent the holding of elections in Western Equatoria and not only in Western Equatoria but in Southern Sudan. So these are agents of people who would like the party and the government to fail and the CPA not be implemented.”

He said the Government of southern Sudan will not allow the forces behind LRA operations to ruin the CPA. However, Tambua did not mention which forces he says are behind the LRA operations in south Sudan.

Meanwhile, the security advisor in Western Equatoria state, Jasmine Samuel, said the current situation in the state is very bad.

She said the LRA attacks on people of Western Equatoria State have created fear among the population and has paralyzed the movement of vehicles and people in the state.

The two officials called on the GOSS to increase the number of soldiers and provide logistical support to protect civilians in the area.

Jasmine also called upon the people of Western Equatoria to help the government by giving information to the authorities about the movements of LRA rebels in the area.
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UGANDAN COMMANDER OF OPERATION LIGHTNING THUNDER IN DR CONGO ADVISES CRITICS OF THE MILITARY OFFENSIVE TO WAIT FOR PHOTOS THAT SHOW THE RECENT SUCCESSES

Peter Eichstaedt, author of First Kill Your Family, has a neat round up of news on the LRA in his latest blog post today. For future reference, here is a copy:
Rampage or runaways?

More conflicting information, or perhaps non-information, is coming out of northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo as Uganda's army pursues the rebel Lord's Resistance Army.

In a story written by Henry Mukasa, the government-owned daily, New Vision, quotes Gen. Patrick Kankiriho as claiming to have "engaged" forces led by the LRA's deputy, Okot Odhiambo, 30km north of Doruma on Monday.

That would put them right on the border with South Sudan, or even in that country, and he claims that two were killed and two were captured two."

Speaking from Dungu, the general said that now eight LRA fighters have been captured and 38 killed since the offensive was launched on December 14, 2008. Over 21 rebels have surrendered to the allies in various parts of Congo and South Sudan and nine captives were rescued.

“We have reached a stage of ‘search and destroy’ for fighters and rescue for captives. We rescue the abductees and the combatants who want to fight us, we engage them,” Kankiriho explained.

The commander said after the battle, two sub-machine guns, four full magazines, two empty magazines and two Sudanese uniforms were recovered.

In another battle on Sunday, Kankiriho said four rebels were killed south of Lagoro. One was captured, two women rescued north of Doruma, while another rebel surrendered with his gun at Yambio in Sudan.

Kankiriho explained that the joint forces had tightened their noose around Kony and his scattered fighters in the vast and densely- forested Garamba National Park in Congo.

“You think he is asking for ceasefire for nothing? The man is under immense pressure. Big, big pressure. We shall get him,” he stressed.

Despite this tough talk, the UN is reporting a different side of the story.

Reuters news agency says that the UN now puts the total civilian dead at the hands of the LRA at 537, since the Dec. 14th attack on LRA camps in northeastern DRC.

Another 408 people had been kidnapped by the rebels, according to UN High Commission on Refugees, and more than 104,000 people are thought to have been forced from their homes into the bush by the violence.

"The displaced population is in dire need of food, shelter, medicines, clothes and other aid items. The area, which by itself poses immense logistical challenges due to the lack of roads or their poor condition, remains highly volatile," UNHCR spokesman Ron Redmond said in a statement in Geneva.

As most are wondering, what has happened to LRA leader Joseph Kony, the self-proclaimed prophet and spirit medium?

The Ugandan general refused to say, arguing that this would pre-empt army action drive the Kony further underground. He advised the critics of the military offensive to wait for photographs that show the recent successes.

The New Vision also reported that the Central African Republic (CAR) began deploying more troops on its border with Congo to guard against incursions by the LRA.

Kankiriho said the group was composed of families of rebel commanders and a few fighters guarding them, led by Odhiambo, who is reportedly wounded.
"First Kill Your Family"

Photo: Peter Eichstaedt's book First Kill Your Family: Child Soldiers of Uganda and the LRA
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Meanwhile ....

Kalma camp

A Sudanese woman sits inside her tent in the Kalma displaced people camp on the outskirts of the southern Darfur town of Nyala. African and Arab countries will try to halt international efforts to bring Sudanese president Omar al-Beshir to justice, which a senior African official judged would hurt peace chances for Darfur. (AFP/File/Jose Cendon)

(Cross posted today at Congo Watch and Uganda Watch)

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