The Security Council today voiced support for the joint military operation launched by the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Uganda and Southern Sudan to flush out the Ugandan rebel Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) from a remote national park in north-eastern DRC, a senior United Nations envoy said.
“First they expressed sympathy and support for the military action in course,” Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s Special Envoy for the LRA-Affected Areas Joaquim Chissano told reporters after briefing the 15-member body on the situation.
“They also urged that the peace process be continued and they would support the peace process, which means the signature of the final agreement,” he said, stressing that LRA leader Joseph Kony had now failed “for the seventh time” to sign the accord reached earlier this year with Uganda.
Ugandan Government forces have been fighting the LRA in the north of the country since the mid-1980s and during the conflict the rebel group, which has spilled over into Sudan and DRC, has become notorious for human rights abuses including the killing and maiming of civilians and the abduction and recruitment of children as soldiers and sex slaves.
The International Criminal Court has indicted Mr. Kony and four other LRA leaders on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity.
A series of accords struck by the two sides this year raised hopes that they could reach a permanent, wide-ranging agreement ending the conflict, but each time Mr. Kony was expected to emerge from the jungle and sign the deal mediated by the Government of Southern Sudan, he failed to appear.