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US says it’s committed to support fight against LRA in Central Africa

October 9, 2013 (KAMPALA) – The United States Secretary of State John Kerry has said the American government is committed to offering support to countries in the Great Lakes region in the fight against rebels of the Lords Resistance Army (LRA) in central Africa.

In a message to Ugandans on the country’s 51st anniversary which was celebrated on Tuesday, John Kerry said: ‘‘I am committed to continuing our support to help Uganda and its regional partners end the LRA threat and bring the remaining top LRA to justice.’’

‘‘We will continue to help these governments to hold war criminals accountable and bring a measure of justice to LRA affected areas’’, Kerry further said in the message released on Tuesday.

In October 2011, the US President Barrack Obama authorised deployment of 100 military advisers in the Great Lakes region to help advise the armies of Uganda, Democratic Republic of the Congo and South Sudan in the fight against the LRA.

The deployments came shortly after the US senate past legislation to disarm the LRA and bring its leaders to book.

Originally a Ugandan rebel group, the LRA which was primarily based in the north of country fought President Yoweri Museveni’s government for two decades until 2006 Juba peace talks in South Sudan.

The rebel group has since became more active in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and Central Africa Republic (CAR) where it has been accused by human rights organisations of committing heinous crimes.

The rebels were also active in South Sudan before moving over to DRC and CAR.

The US Secretary of State said with support from America, the Ugandan army had weakened the rebel group.

The LRA is designated as a terrorist organisation by the US State Department. Its top leaders were in 2005 indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC)for War crimes and crimes against humanity.

In April this year, the Seleka rebels who toppled the government of former President Francois Bozize asked Ugandan troops and the American military advisers hunting for the LRA to leave the country.

The order led to fears that the exit of the troops would give the LRA, which was already reportedly under increased pressure, more time to reorganise and abduct civilians to swell their ranks.

There has been ongoing diplomatic efforts with the new government in CAR to allow the hunt for Kony to resume.

(ST)