By Mary Karugaba
LEADERS of civil society organizations from each country affected by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) as well as Europe and the United States have called for urgent action to end LRA atrocities and support the recovery of affected communities.
In a joint statement the leaders from Uganda, Democratic republic of Congo, South Sudan, Central African Republic, European Union and USA noted that although there has been progress in reducing LRA attacks in recent years, there has been reports of renewed killing in the Central African Republic.
“The LRA remains a critical situation in the region. However, in order to overcome this crisis, we need a coordinated approach from every actor in the region, and increased support to local organizations working to help those most affected,” said Mgr. Marcel Utembi, Archbishop of Kisangani.
According to the joint communiqué, the leaders met in Brussels last week to assess the progress made and the effects of LRA on the communities. It was the first of its kind since LRA started the gorilla war 27-year ago.
To date, it’s reported that more than 400,000 people remain displaced across three countries due to fear of the LRA’s brutal and unpredictable attacks.
Joost van Puijenbroek from Netherlands cautioned that although the LRA may seem a decreasing problem, the affected countries should not relax and forget the LRA problem.
“We have to continue and strengthen the strategies in place of the AU, UN and US to address the LRA issue. If we diminish our efforts now we give the LRA the space it needs to reconstitute itself. Extreme suffering of the population as in the past will intensify once again and all efforts risk having been in vain. The EU should increase its funding and political support for these strategies,” he said
According to the statement, after the discussion, the leaders presented their findings to the European Parliament, top European Union, United Nations, and African Union officials, academics, and representatives from other international organizations.