Monday, January 17, 2022

Sudan Tribune

Plural news and views on Sudan

LRA rebels threaten attacks during Christmas

By Richard Ruati

December 17, 2009 (YAMBIO) — Ugandan rebels of the Lord’s Resistance Army, which operates in the lawless north-eastern Congo, are threatening to repeat the massacres they committed during the 2008 Christmas in which over 800 Congolese civilians were brutally murdered, the U.S.-based advocacy Group Enough said Thursday.

LRA soldiers keep guard at the assembly point in Ri-Kwangba on the Sudan-Congo border, Western Equatoria, April 10, 2008. (Reuters)
LRA soldiers keep guard at the assembly point in Ri-Kwangba on the Sudan-Congo border, Western Equatoria, April 10, 2008. (Reuters)
Speaking via telephone hookup from Kampala an Enough field researcher spoke to Congolese civilians who had received direct warnings from the LRA of fresh attacks against the villages of Ngilima, Bangadi and Niangara.

“Residents of Bangadi and Niangara, as well as local and international relief organizations, also reported having seen letters from the rebels threatening mass killings during the upcoming holiday period,” recounted Enough Field Researcher, Ledio Cakaj.

Vulnerable Congolese civilians quoted the rebels as saying “We Will Celebrate Christmas with You”

He added that, “We spoke to former captives of the LRA who recently escaped. They frequently heard the rebels talk about ‘celebrating’ Christmas with the people of Ngilima, a clear reference to LRA attacks of last Christmas.”

The LRA might be planning fresh Christmas attacks as a response to recent claims by the Congolese and Ugandan governments that the rebels are finished.

TIME LINE OF MORE ATTACKS

Recent LRA attacks against Ngirimo, Bangadi and Niangara demonstrate that the insurgency is far from over, and that the LRA is as brutal as ever. On November 26, a family of eight was burned alive by the LRA in their hut close to Bangadi, 45 km inside Congo from southwestern Sudan, where the rebels have maimed and terrorized many villages.

Similar attacks reported in the villages of Ngirimo and Niangara have left more many dead.

On December 2, LRA rebels captured and cut off the ears and lips of a man near Bangadi. On December 12, two men and a woman were mutilated by LRA rebels in Ngulu, 25 km southeast of Bangadi.

Although Congolese soldiers are stationed in a few LRA-affected areas, these forces are raping, killing, and looting the very population they are supposed to protect. “Living with the Congolese army is like living with a viper,” a local resident told Enough Researcher. “I have never seen worse behaving people throughout my life.”

U.N. peacekeepers are absent in the villages where the threat of LRA attacks is most acute. Humanitarian organizations have called for increased U.N. troops to provide civilian protection for the last two years. A new battalion of Tunisian peacekeepers was approved by the U.N. Security Council in November 2008, but these badly needed reinforcements will not arrive in Orientale until at least February 2010.

“The status quo in northeastern Congo and other LRA affected areas is a miserable failure with an appalling human cost.” said Enough Co-Founder John Prendergast. “As a matter of urgency, the United Nations Security Council must work with regional governments and other concerned nations to put in place a more effective counter-insurgency strategy to end the LRA threat once and for all.” military duties,” he said.

(ST)