In early 2008, the Juba Peace Process between the Ugandan government and the Lord’s Resistance Army failed. In December of that year, a joint offensive by Uganda, the DRC, and South Sudan invaded the LRA’s hiding place, dispersing the rebels. It was a messy, ill-advised attempt at apprehending rebel leaders and freeing abducted civilians.
On Christmas Eve, the LRA lashed out at the local population, destroying whole villages. In the ensuing month, as reported by a number of news papers and human rights groups, the rebels killed at least 900 people and abducted at least 160 children. They rounded up villagers who had been celebrating Christmas, tying them up and killing them with clubs, axes, and machetes. A number of women were raped and whole families burned. In the following year they would kill over 1500 and abduct over 3000, 700 thought to be children.
In December of 2009, the LRA issued a warning – saying they would celebrate Christmas with the people of the region. On December 14th, to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the military incursion, the rebels lashed out again, attacking a number of villages and towns in eastern DRC.
This is a blog post I’ve been meaning to write for a week or so. It’s about something that has me worried. It’s December. It’s almost the two-year anniversary of the beginning of hostilities and one-year anniversary of the 2009 attacks, as well as the two-year anniversary of the Christmas Massacre. Who knows what the LRA are planning this year? Having spent a good four years learning about this conflict, and having met a number of victims in Uganda effected by the LRA, I’m worried for the people of the DRC, CAR, and Sudan.
On this subject, the Obama administration’s LRA Strategy was released almost two weeks ago, and I’ve been reading and reviewing it. I’ll put up a praise/critique soon, hopefully. After two years of relative peace from 2006-2008, these past two years have been pretty brutal for the people of east-central Africa. I’d like to see it end.