Senior United Nations and African Union officials arrived in Chad this weekend on a joint mission to warn its Government that the country could be the next destination of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA).
“The current pressure against LRA rebels could lead them to organize an incursion into other countries,” the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA) said today in a press release.
The UN Special Representative for Central Africa and head of UNOCA, Abou Moussa, and the Special Envoy of the African Union for the LRA issue, Francisco Madeira, will meet with Chad’s President Idriss Déby on Tuesday. They will alert the Chadian Government and its development partners on this issue and advocate for preventive measures against it.
UNOCA noted that the Central African Republic (CAR) is considered the “epicentre of the LRA” and it shares its northern border with Chad, making the latter a potential target for the group led by Joseph Kony.
The two officials plan to make the same preventive diplomacy effort in Sudan, as it shares borders with two countries where the LRA is said to be active, CAR and South Sudan. Earlier this month, the pair met with LRA victims in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Formed in the 1980s in Uganda, the LRA mainly directed its attacks against Ugandan civilians and security forces for over 15 years. It then exported its activities to Uganda’s neighbouring countries, with practices that include the recruitment of children, rapes, killing and maiming, and sexual slavery. Since 2008, the LRA is believed to be responsible for at least 2,400 deaths, 3,400 kidnappings and more than 440,000 internally displaced or refugees.
In November 2011, the African Union Peace and Security Council established a Regional Intervention Force, with headquarters in South Sudan, as part of renewed efforts to eradicate the LRA.