7 May 2014

Sudan: LRA Leader Within S. Sudan's Disputed Region, Says UN

Juba — The United Nations secretary-general said Lords Resistance Army (LRA) leader Joseph Kony and his army commanders are currently confined in South Sudan's border areas with Sudan and the Central African Republic (CAR)."However, credible sources suggest LRA leader Joseph Kony and senior LRA commanders have recently returned to seek safe haven in Sudanese-controlled areas of the enclave," Ban Ki moon told the UN Security Council on Tuesday.

Recently, unconfirmed reports indicated Kony, who is wanted by the Hague-based International Criminal Court (ICC) for war crimes and crimes against humanity, had allegedly been killed by a United States navy seal in a remote location of the CAR.

"The LRA is currently believed to have split into several highly mobile groups operating with a significant degree of autonomy in the Central African Republic and the Democratic Republic of Congo," Ki moon said in a report.

The LRA, which has survived since 1987 by kidnapping and forcing children to become child soldiers, is accused of conducting serious human rights violations against civilians in the areas in which it mainly operates.

Estimates in recent years put the number of LRA fighters to be in low hundreds. Despite the mystery that surrounded Kony's whereabouts, some reports claimed he had entered the Darfur region of Sudan.

"They are involved primarily in survival mode activities which entail attacking civilians, killing, looting and kidnapping. There have been no reports of recent premeditated mass killings or other grave human rights abuses," said the UN chief.

At least 65 LRA attacks, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), occurred during the first quarter of 2014 in the CAR and DRC during which 93 people were reportedly abducted and two killed.

As of December last year, OCHA estimated that approximately 326,000 people were displaced across the CAR, DRC and South Sudan as a result of the LRA threat.

"There were no LRA incidents in South Sudan in the past six months," said OCHA.

In May 2010, US president Barrack Obama signed into law the LRA Disarmament and Northern Uganda Recovery Act, which reaffirmed America's commitment to support regional partners' efforts to end the atrocities of the LRA in central Africa.

An African Union (AU) regional task force, comprising of troops from Uganda, South Sudan, the DRC and CAR with support from US special forces are currently involved in the hunt for warlord Kony and his fighters since March 2011.

"Despite the continuing decline in LRA activity overall, the LRA still remains a serious threat, with its senior leadership intact and with the potential to destabilise the sub-region," Ki moon said.

UGANDA ACCUSES SUDAN

Last month, a senior Ugandan government official accused the Sudanese government of allegedly resuming its support for the notorious rebel group.

Speaking on the seemingly wary relations between the two countries, Prime Minister Amama Mbabazi said Uganda has filed a complaint with the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) about Sudan's alleged support for LRA.

"We had hoped that we had put all this behind us, but sadly, Sudan has not stopped supporting Joseph Kony and the LRA," Mbabazi said.

"Sudan accused us of supporting rebellion in their country, which I denied. The OIC has taken note of our complaints and it has expressed willingness to mediate", he added.

Kampala and Khartoum have, in the past, traded accusations of supporting rebel groups. Sudan government says Uganda hosts Sudanese Revolutionary Front rebels.

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