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UN appeals for help to end Lord's Resistance Army

06-25-2012 01:59 BJT

The United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon is appealing for international support to help end the threat posed by Uganda rebel group, the Lord's Resistance Army. The Joseph Kony-led LRA carried out the worst of its atrocities in northern Ugandan in the 1990s, but remnants of the insurgent group reportedly continue to attack civilians in the region.

The Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has appealed for international support to enhance regional efforts eliminate the threat posed by the Ugandan rebel group the Lord's Resistance Army together with its leader Joseph Kony and address the impact of its activities in light of recent resurgence of attacks in the Central Africa republic.

Over 445,000 people, according to the UN Secretary General, have been displaced as of 31 March 2012 in the Central Africa Republic, Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan, with an estimated 341,000 internally displaced persons in DRC's Orientale province alone.

Ugandan Minister Betty Bigombe was the first person to initiate peace talks between the LRA rebels and the Ugandan government in 1994. She sees the UN appeal as a step in the right direction even though it comes a bit late.

Betty Bigombe, Ugandan Minister, said, "The UN waited for too long to come in to this but nevertheless because Joseph Kony is still alive and well and that LRA continues to abduct, kill and maim people mainly in car and the Congo and to some extended in Southern Sudan. It is important that at this level he makes this appeal. But this appeal has the most important thing in it all is how do we protect the people in this region who LRA is still free enough to move and kill and abduct"

The UN Council reaffirmed that ending impunity is essential for a society recovering from conflict to come to terms with past abuses committed against civilians and to prevent their recurrence. It supported the ICC arrest warrants on the LRA leaders Kony and Okot Odhiambo and Dominic Ongwen, on charges of war crimes and crimes against humanity, including murder, rape and the enlistment of children through abduction.

Rosebell Kagumire is the senior editor at ISIS WICCE an NGO that documents women's rights violations in conflict and post conflict areas. She explains what kind of rebel group the LRA is.

Rosebell Kagumire, senior editor of ISIS WICCE, said,  "When we talk about the LRA, if you talk to any Ugandan it is the most feared group in Uganda because of the methods they used, you know when you realize you're losing ground you have to inflict fear in the people, and they used the most brutal methods like killing people, they raped women, they forced children to be child soldiers, they forced women to become their wives in the bush. There're many stories but I met one guy in northern Uganda who told me when he was a child of 14 years old he was forced to kill all his parents and join the rebel group so he has nothing to come back for."

The UN chief also lauds the role of the 5,000 AU and UN backed troops from Uganda, South Sudan, the DRC and Central African Republic, currently on a joint mission meant to track down the elusive LRA and apprehend its leaders to end the LRA insurgency, which he said was part of initiative authorized by the African Union Peace and Security Council.

The appeal by the UN secretary general comes at a crucial time when Uganda together with regional forces are trying to make their last push to end the LRA's two decade long insurgency.

Editor:James |Source: CNTV

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