The African Union announced the establishment of a Regional Task Force to support efforts already underway to end the LRA threat to central Africa. This signifies a strong commitment from not just regional actors, but shows that on a continental level the LRA is a priority. The AU task force has committed to adding additional troops to the apprehension and civilian protection efforts, coordinating between governments in the region and improving DDR/RR efforts regionally. This announcement is only the first step, but it signifies a growing level of support to LRA-affected communities.
24 March 2012 – The African Union (AU) and the UN Office for Central Africa today unveiled a regional task force in Juba aimed at eliminating the Lord’s Resistance Army and capturing its leader Joseph Kony.
“It is time to deal with them and bring them to book, arrest their leader for the atrocities he has committed in South Sudan, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC),” said the South Sudanese Minister of Interior, Alison Manani Magaya, as he opened the ceremony.
Since the founding of the LRA in the mid-1980s, its forces have killed over 2,600 people, kidnapped 4,000 civilians and displaced over 400,000 people in Uganda, South Sudan and the DRC, according to AU Special Envoy Francisco Madeira.
Present at the launch were South Sudan’s Vice President Riek Machar, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Central Africa Abou Moussa, Ambassador Madeira and other officials from the government, the UN and the international community.
Vice President Machar thanked the AU, UN and the international community for their support and pledged the cooperation of his government with the four-nation military force that will be established to hunt down Mr. Kony.
“You will get our support,” said the vice president, who mediated peace talks between Uganda and the LRA before they collapsed in 2008. “I wish you success in it.”
Describing the initiative as the “result of several months of consultation,” Mr. Moussa said the task force will consist of both military and civilian personnel.
Authorized to capture Mr. Kony, protect civilians who are exposed to LRA atrocities and promote humanitarian assistance, the force will be drawn from the military personnel of South Sudan, the Central African Republic, the DRC and Mr. Kony’s native Uganda.
Read the full official press release here.