by paco on 19 Feb 2009 | Comments
How is it possible that the international community continues to allow the LRA to perpetrate atrocities with impunity? In today’s article by Jeffrey Gettleman in the New York Times, he describes the horrific violence inflicted by the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) rebels on villagers in the northeastern corner of the Congo, around Garamba National Park where the LRA has been hiding for the past few years. Since last December the LRA has been rampaging, pillaging, raping, maiming, kidnapping and killing these innocent villagers, in retaliation for a botched military offensive against them by the Ugandan and Congolese armies (with U.S. advisers involved) after peace negotiations failed. These poor villagers don’t even understand the LRA rebels who are mostly from northern Uganda and speak Acholi, not the local language Lingala. So they emerge from the bush, armed to the teeth and speaking a strange language, and proceed to massacre the unfortunate civilians - can you even begin to imagine such a nightmare? Is it possible that we, the international community, are incapable of bringing the LRA to its knees? This is shameful and tragic. Where are the LRA getting their guns, their bullets? They may extract food from the villagers, but not bullets and grenades to replenish their arsenal. Who pays for their satellite phone accounts? Where is the cash support flowing from? Are we really expected to believe that this information is unattainable? Can’t the satellite phone carriers shut down the LRA accounts, or use the phones to trace their movements? Whomever is aiding and abetting them on the outside must be immediately arrested and prosecuted. If the U.S. was advising the Ugandan and Congolese forces, why can’t the ultra-sophisticated global intelligence system created to track potential terrorists, with satellites that can detect movements and heat emissions under the jungle canopy, be brought to bear on the LRA? If the international community doesn’t pull out all the stops now to bring this escalating horror to an end, we will have failed miserably - we already have failed the 1,000 victims of the latest LRA rampage. I commend Jeffrey Gettleman for making this ongoing story a priority, and our response has to be to end the story (nightmare).