The UN to Blame for Increased of Atrocities by LRA Rebels
By Steve Paterno
In its extraordinary meeting this week, the 15-member UN Security Council issued a strong condemnation against ‚Äúthe continued and recently increasing attacks carried out by the Lord‚Äôs Resistance Army (LRA) in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC),
Central African Republic
.‚ÄĚ In its press statement, the UN Security Council vows for collaborative efforts among the regional powers and bodies to stop the LRA atrocities and protect the civilians. This condemnation and a call for comprehensive strategy in dealing with the LRA by the world body, comes at the time the rebels have already proven that they are truly regional threats, since they go about, wreaking havoc on a regional scale. When the LRA rebels were manifesting themselves into such a regional menace, the UN was either mute or in some instances, inadvertently aiding and abetting the LRA to reach a successfully growth.
For example, the UN was among those organs, which blindly, supported the illusive Juba Peace Talks, supposedly between the government of
and the LRA, under the mediation of
government. The UN investments for the talks are hugely wasted. It injected in millions of dollars in support of the process. If one dare to ask today, the accountability of such money is as a mystery as the whereabouts of Joseph Kony, the leader of LRA. To further demonstrate its complacency, the UN went to the extent of blessing the peace process with the designation of Joaquim Alberto Chissano, the former
‚Äôs president to be the UN point person or as the UN prefers to call him, the ‚ÄúSpecial Envoy of the Secretary-General.‚ÄĚ From the onset of Juba Peace Talks, all the indications were showing, a process doomed to failure.
To begin with, there was no single LRA combatant involved in a direct negotiation in Juba Peace Talks. Yet, those who participated in the talks have audacity to call it Peace Talks related to LRA, though without the involvement of any LRA. The hoodwinked LRA negotiating delegation who descended into
were made up of imported individuals from Diaspora, most of whom with opportunistic tendencies and different motivations to promote their selfish interests. During the Juba Peace Talks, it did not come as surprises, when the so called LRA negotiating team struggled for positions and fought over allowances among themselves. Now that the said LRA negotiators are out of commissions, they spend their glorious time, mudslinging each other for the negative roles each one of them played throughout the process. Thanks to the initiation of Juba Peace Talks, most of these guys are now settled in
after long years of exile and after swearing allegiance of not to return home until the ouster of Ugandan President Yuweri Museveni.
In short, the Juba Peace Talks was largely responsible for the growth of LRA, both in numbers and intensity of their attacks on civilian populations. Despite the obvious indicators of the Juba Peace Talks showing failures, the UN was not quick to reverse the course. As a result, the number of LRA combatants swelled with increased degree of attacks among their targets. Hundreds of thousands from across the region are uprooted from their homes; thousands are slaughtered; and hundreds more, among them children and women are abducted. In some cases, the UN peacekeeping in the region, the largest of its kind in the world, stand by, while all these atrocities is allowed to continue. Late last year when the LRA were stepping up systematic attacks across villages in Democratic Republic of Congo, one of the humanitarian agencies in the region, the Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), blamed the UN peacekeeping for not doing enough to protect civilians and evacuate the wounded from the affected areas, despite the fact that the UN has the capacity and logistics to carry out such duties. This led President Yuweri Museveni to accuse the peacekeeping forces to be ‚Äúliving side by side with‚ÄĚ the LRA terrorists.
Now that the UN embraces a comprehensive regional strategy in getting rid of the LRA, all that reminds is a plan for actions. Of recent, with mounting joint operations against the LRA by Ugandan, South Sudanese, and Congolese armed forces, the LRA is showing signs of defeats in battle fields. In spite of their continuous brutalities on civilian populations, LRA are surrendering in numbers. Among the recently surrendered LRA, is a senior commander, Charles Arop, a mastermind behind the 2008, Christmas massacre in
. With this signs of capitulations, there ought to be integrated efforts to encourage mass surrenders among the LRA ranks and files. The UN peacekeeping forces and other related agencies can take a lead in this endeavor by showing that there are incentives to the rebel fighters to give themselves in. The remaining handful of the fighters would then be hunted down in Special Forces unit types with coordinated intelligence as well as mobility capabilities, which has a primary objective of capturing or killing those LRA rebels. The onus is for the regional forces, the UN peacekeeping forces and related agencies to accomplish what has become the burden for innocent population to shoulder. The UN Security Council cannot just issue a press release out of New York on such important and urgent issue, and then not to follow through, especially when opportunities for actions present themselves. Let the real actions begin!