LRA Atrocities in The Congo Horrify UN Humanitarian Affairs Official

2781 Views Kampala, Uganda

In short
UN Under Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs is shocked and horrified by the brutality of the Lord's Resistance Army on civilians in the Democratic Republic of Congo. She calls for concerted efforts in finding a lasting solution to the rebellion.

The United Nations Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs, Valerie Amos, says she is appalled by the numerous reports of atrocities committed by the Lord’s Resistance Army in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Valerie Amos, who visited the DRC last week, has issued a statement calling for a real concerted effort to stop the terror of the Ugandan rebel group. Amos visited Congo’s Orientale Province, a hotbed of activity for the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA). Haut-Uele and Bas-Uele districts are the scene of brutalities committed by the LRA in which 2,000 civilians were killed and about 3,000 people were abducted. 1,500 children have been abducted from the two districts since December 2007. The LRA uses child slaves to boost its ranks. It forces the children into armed warfare, indoctrinating them with its claim to be fighting for the restoration of the Ten Commandments of God in their countries. Several children abducted from Uganda between 1990 and 2005 now make up the leadership command structure of the LRA, serving under rebel leader Joseph Kony. In the village of Bangadi, located approximately 50 kilometers from the border of the DRC and Southern Sudan, Valerie Amos heard harrowing testimonies from survivors, who had been abducted by the LRA. Only a few hundred LRA fighters are estimated to be in the DRC. But despite their relatively small number, the insecurity and humanitarian impact of their presence is enormous. The limited road access in the Uele districts renders humanitarian operations difficult and costly. During meetings with authorities and humanitarian workers in the province, Amos emphasized the primary responsibility of the Government of the DRC for protecting civilians. However she also expressed concern that the United Nations Organization Stabilization Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo did not have sufficient resources to protect civilians adequately and ensure access for humanitarian operations in LRA-affected areas. Seven United Nations agencies and 23 non-governmental organizations carry out humanitarian work in the Haut-Uele and Bas-Uele districts. The UN says humanitarian workers have been able to assist an estimated 65 per cent of the displaced population, but they face obstacles on a daily basis due to persistent insecurity and the inaccessibility of many of those displaced, in areas with little or no road coverage. Amos said she was deeply touched by the reception she received from the war-stricken people of the Congo. She said that the United Nations and the international community should redouble efforts to find a lasting solution to this crisis. ###