The Ugandan-led African Union (AU) troops have resumed the offensive against the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) rebels in the Central African Republic (CAR), several months after suspending military operations there following a violent coup in the nation.
Army spokesperson Col. Paddy Ankunda said the army launched an offensive against the rebels in CAR, with impressive results. "We have shaken them over the last three or four days," Ankunda told New Vision. The offensive in which the army began advancing on rebel positions left eight rebels dead, a seizure of an assortment of weapons and a number of abductees rescued, Ankunda said.
Asked whether the attack heralds a resumption of offensives against the rebels after a six months lull, Ankunda said yes but insisted that the AU should be in a better position to comment. "This is an AU-led operation and I would prefer that the AU comments. Please get in touch with the AU on that," he said. The development is a major boost for the US-backed offensive against the LRA fighters, who have preyed on the region for nearly three decades.
Uganda halted the military operation in April, a month after the Seleka rebels toppled the Central African Republic's government and ordered foreign troops out of the mineral-rich but restive nation, dealing a severe blow to the anti-LRA operations.
Ankunda said the military offensives resumed after Seleka rebels published a communication indicating their willingness to cooperate with the AU in the pursuit of LRA rebels. "On the basis of that we got the green light to resume," he said.
The resumption of the offensives comes amid reports of pockets of the LRA expressing willingness to renounce rebellion and surrender. Their willingness which Ankunda has been quick to dismiss has been contained in several letters dropped in villages in Faradje in the DRC, according to a report released by Invisible Children and The Resolve. The report indicates that the LRA is communicating with communities in parts of DRC.