The United Nations has intensified military patrols in the areas affected by the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels in a bid to arrest leader Joseph Kony and his indicted commanders.
The U.N., through its peacekeeping missions in the region is working with the African Union (AU), UPDF, the armies of DRC, Central Africa Republic (CAR), Sudan and several other agencies to mount pressure on the rebels who have committed various atrocities.
Now the UN wants to harness the recent increase in international attention to the LRA to build momentum and end the rebels' violence at once.
"With all these parties on board there is a real chance of finding a solution and ending the extensive fear and human suffering caused by the LRA for a quarter of a century," a UN statement said.
"This is urgently required to stop the violence and allow the 465,000 displaced persons and their host communities to re-establish livelihoods and regain hope."
The vast majority of the displaced people (347,000) are in Orientale province in DRC.
The UN has urged leaders of the affected countries, the AU and international partners to prioritize the operation and commit the resources required "to end the LRA threat and ensure better protection and humanitarian assistance for civilians living in LRA-affected areas."
U.S. President Barack Obama in October 2011 deployed 100 "combat-equipped" troops to Uganda to strengthen efforts against the rebels.
Although current estimates suggest that the LRA comprises of less than 500 combatants, the UN said the rebels can still attack, terrorize and harm local communities and cause large-scale displacement.
In DRC, the UN, through its peacekeeping missions in the country (MONUSCO) and South Sudan(UNMISS), provides military escorts to civilian populations going to markets and gardens in addition and patrolling in and around villages and towns where an LRA presence is reported.
Radio and cellphone early warning networks in the affected areas have also been strengthened.
MONUSCO has established operation cells in Dungu, Haut-Uélé, to monitor and analyze information regarding LRA attacks and coordinate operations in liaison with UN missions in CAR and South Sudan and with the national militaries from the affected countries.
Other efforts include deployment of a Regional Task Force (RTF) comprising 5,000 troops from the four affected countries to track and capture Kony, his commanders and combatants. The RTF was launched on March 24 in Juba, South Sudan.
The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Central Africa and Head of UNOCA, Abou Moussa, and the AU Special Envoy on the LRA, Francisco Madeira are coordinating efforts to ensure sustained political commitment by the governments of the four affected countries.
The LRA launched rebellion in the North in 1988 and Kony fled into CAR after government attempts to negotiate peace collapsed.
In 2005, the International Criminal Court (ICC) indicted fugitive Kony and his commanders for their numerous crimes against humanity.
Fearing they would not be able to return to their villages without being arrested, the talks collapsed and fighting broke out again. Of the indicted commanders, Kony, Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen are believed to be still alive.