Concerned that lingering instability in the Central African Republic (CAR) following a power grab by rebels has stalled operations to neutralise the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), the UN Security Council wants regional countries to co-operate on all fronts to tackle both crises.
“The Council is concerned at the recent pause of counter-LRA operations in CAR in the context of the current crisis due to the seizure of power by force on March 24, 2013, by the Séléka coalition,” said the 15-nation body. This was following a briefing by Abou Moussa, the Secretary-General’s special representative and head of the UN Regional Office for Central Africa (UNOCA).
Expressing concern about violence and looting in the wake of the Séléka takeover, which worsened the humanitarian and security situation and weakened CAR institutions, the Council recognised the short term need for CAR transitional authorities, the Economic Community of Central African States (ECCAS), the African Union and the UN to strengthen co-ordination to solve the current CAR crisis as soon as possible.
The Council again strongly condemned attacks and atrocities carried out by the LRA, demanded an immediate end to them and urged the LRA “to release all those abducted and to disarm and demobilise.”
The Lord’s Resistance Army was formed in the 1980s in Uganda and for over 15 years its attacks were mainly directed against Ugandan civilians and security forces, which in 2002 dislodged the rebels. They then exported activities to Uganda’s neighbours, including the DRC, CAR and South Sudan.
The LRA is notorious for carrying out village massacres, mutilating victims and abducting boys for use as child soldiers, while girls are often forced into sexual slavery.
The Council encouraged the UN, AU and ECCAS, to work together to develop “a common operating picture” of LRA’s current capabilities and areas of activity, as well as to investigate the group’s logistic networks and possible sources of military support and illicit financing. This includes alleged involvement in elephant poaching and related smuggling.
The Council welcomed the development of the implementation plan for the UN regional strategy to address the threat and impact of the activities of the LRA and urged UNOCA as well as UN political and peacekeeping missions in the region “to enhance efforts in support of the implementation of the strategy.”
The strategy focuses on support for the full operationalisation and implementation of the AU regional initiative against the LRA; enhancing efforts to promote civilian protection and to expand current disarmament, demobilisation, repatriation, resettlement and re-integration activities to all LRA-affected areas.
Other objectives are to promote a co-ordinated humanitarian and child protection response in these areas and to support LRA-affected governments to enable them to establish State authority across their territories.