According to the LRA Crisis Tracker, this is the single largest return of long-term LRA members in over three years.
The LRA Crisis Tracker reports that, on March 21, 2013, four LRA soldiers escorted 28 captives to Digba, DR Congo, in order to release them. The group consisted of 28 women and children. After reaching Digba, the group traveled to Ango. One woman reportedly drowned on the journey (the LRA Crisis Tracker has not received any additional information about how the accident occurred). The remaining 27 arrived safely in Ango.
Most of the survivors were Congolese, others were Ugandan, Sudanese, and Central African. The LRA likely released the women and children in order to trim the group down to essential fighters who aren’t faced with the constraints of taking care of women and children. This is likely both a mobility and survival tactic — easier to travel between groups, fewer mouths to feed. The breakdown of women and children who were released last week:
» 8 women (18+)
» 13 girls (0-17)
» 7 boys (all 3 years or younger)
The recent escapees made it clear that, still, “There are many women and children in the bush.”
The report was called in by a community that is part of Invisible Children’s Early Warning Radio Network. The Early Warning Radio Network currently supports HF radio communication among 37 communities in central Africa that are vulnerable to LRA attacks.