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ICC Note

In Africa, the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) is still lingering. In this year alone, the LRA has abducted over 700 people and displaced hundreds of civilians. Because the LRA has decreased their attacks over the years, they have become irrelevant to the United States. Joseph Kony has a warrant out for his arrest, yet the biggest contributors in the fight against the LRA want to revoke their support from the Africa Union (AU) to defend against Joseph Kony and the LRA.

06/07/2017 Africa (All Africa) – The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has abducted over 700 people and displaced hundreds of civilians so far this year. In February alone it carried out 16 attacks in which 70 civilians were kidnapped in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Central African Republic (CAR).

This, says African Union (AU) Commission chairman Moussa Faki Mahamat, is the group’s highest total monthly abduction since September 2016. Mahamat says the LRA has maintained ‘an active presence in [the] CAR, DRC and parts of South Sudan where it continues to raid, ambush, loot, torture, abduct and detain civilians’.

It also traffics ‘ivory poached from the Garamba National Park in the DRC, and minerals looted from [the] CAR to sustain itself and its leader, Joseph Kony’, he says.

Yet the US says the LRA has become ‘irrelevant’, and along with Uganda, has announced its withdrawal of troops and support in the fight against the group.

Uganda is removing its roughly 2 000 troops from the AU’s Regional Cooperation Initiative for the elimination of the LRA (RCI-LRA). The force will have about 1 000 soldiers left, made up of the remaining contributors – the CAR, South Sudan and the DRC.

The US Africa Command, which sent about 250 special forces to help find LRA leader Joseph Kony, is withdrawing these troops – even though the elusive Kony has not yet been found. Some reports say he is in southern Darfur, Sudan.

The withdrawal of these two major contributors to the RCI-LRA comes just as the AU’s Peace and Security Council (PSC) last month renewed the RCI-LRA’s mandate for another year. But the forces and support in the fight against the LRA are dwindling.

With the continued instability and recent resurgence of the war in the CAR, there is little chance that the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in the Central African Republic (MINUSCA) will heed the AU’s call to help fight the LRA. The UN just has too much on its plate in the region – including a massive war in South Sudan – to get involved in rooting out what’s left of the LRA.

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