Searched the resource database for : All Results AND Regions=Central African Republic
Haven't found what you are looking for? To further refine your search: Click on the 'advanced search' menu to filter by title, abstract, source, and/or publication date; to include or exclude multiple resource categories, regions or topics.
Abstract: Africa’s Great Lakes region has known conflict for a considerable period of time, and this has been met with several initiatives aimed at managing the situation in a sustainable way. One such initiative was the Multi-country Demobilisation and Reintegration Programme (MDRP), led by the World Bank, from 2002 to 2009. The initiative, which looked at selected countries in the Great Lakes, focussed on the demobilisation and reintegration of former fighters, with the main objective being to improve the livelihoods of affected communities. Despite the challenges that the MDRP encountered, the programme realised a number of successes and brought to the fore numerous lessons learned. It is these lessons that this monograph has sought to document, with the hope of contributing to the better planning of similar programmes in future. The monograph uses case studies of the Central African Republic and the Republic of Congo to illustrate how the MDRP was implemented, while Liberia is included as a control case.
Abstract: This paper identifies the factors linked to cross-country differentials in growth performance in the aftermath of social conflict for 30 sub-Saharan African countries using panel data techniques. Our results show that changes in the terms of trade are the most important correlate of economic performance in post-conflict environments. This variable is typically associated with an increase in the marginal probability of positive economic performance by about 30 percent. Institutional quality emerges as the second most important factor. Foreign aid is shown to have very limited ability to explain differentials in growth performance, and other policy variables such as trade openness are not found to have a statistically significant effect. The results suggest that exogenous factors ("luck") are an important factor in post-conflict recovery. They also highlight the importance in post-conflict settings of policies to mitigate the macroeconomic impact of terms of trade volatility (including countercyclical macroeconomic policies and innovative financing instruments) and of policies to promote export diversification.
Abstract: The Examples from the Ground are concrete illustrations of ways in which a gender perspective has been integrated in different security sector institutions around the world. They range from measures to counter human trafficking in Kosovo, to women’s organisations’ involvement with security institutions in Nepal, to female parliamentarians’ contribution to post-conflict reconstruction in Rwanda. These examples can help policymakers, trainers and educators better understand and demonstrate the linkages between gender and SSR.
The examples are organised around the following nine themes, for which a short introduction is provided:
• Police Reform and Gender
• Defence Reform and Gender
• Justice Reform and Gender
• Penal Reform and Gender
• Border Management and Gender
• Parliamentary Oversight of the Security Sector and Gender
• National Security Policy-Making and Gender
• Civil Society Oversight of the Security Sector and Gender
• SSR Assessment, Monitoring and Evaluation and Gender
Individual examples can also be downloaded individually, in English or in French, at: http://gssrtraining.ch/index.php?option=com_content&view;=article&id;=4&Itemid;=131〈=en
Abstract: In order to advise policy-makers at a critical juncture after the
re-election in January 2011 of President François Bozizé of
the Central African Republic (CAR), the Watchlist on
Children and Armed Conflict (Watchlist) and the Internal
Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) joined forces
to conduct a four-week field mission to CAR to
research and report on the situation of children
affected by armed conflict. We found evidence that
at least four of the six grave violations monitored
under UN Security Council Resolution 1612 (2005)
are still being committed against children in CAR:
the abduction of children, recruitment or use of
child soldiers, attacks against schools, and the
denial of humanitarian access to children.
CAR is situated at the heart of one of the most
volatile regions in the world, where it shares borders
with Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo
(DRC), and Sudan. CAR also has some of the worst
humanitarian indicators in the world and has been ranked
the world’s fourth most under-funded and ignored humanitarian
crisis. In addition, the people of CAR suffer a weak
government, with minimal support from the international community,
which cannot protect them from violence or meet their urgent needs for nutrition,
water and sanitation, health care, and education.
Children in CAR face severe human rights abuses and violations. Numerous armed groups
are active throughout the country, terrorizing communities and abducting children. Three
groups in particular are guilty of egregious crimes against children and are still committing
four of the six grave violations against CAR’s children.
The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), which for years has terrorized communities and
abducted children in northern Uganda, more recently has been forced into remote areas of
nearby countries, including CAR, where it has attacked villages and abducted children. The
Convention of Patriots for Justice and Peace (CPJP) is the only armed group still fighting the
government, and is reportedly recruiting or using child soldiers and attacking schools in
the northeast. Self-defense militias, created by communities to protect themselves from
attack, recruit children as young as 12 years old and use them to fight.
Abstract: The report highlights the ongoing protection crisis in the country, caused by
sporadic fighting between Government forces and armed groups, prevalent banditry
and the extreme poverty of the population. The crisis is compounded by the lack of
capacity of the defence and security forces and the judiciary, as well as by
insufficient socio-economic opportunities.
In spite of the Government’s commitment to end the use and recruitment of
children, their mobilization into the ranks of rebel groups and self-defence militias
throughout the country continued during the reporting period. Children have been
mobilized by the Armée populaire pour la restauration de la République et la
démocratie, the Union des forces démocratiques pour le rassemblement, the Front
démocratique du peuple centrafricain and the Mouvement des libérateurs
centrafricains pour la justice, which are signatories to the 2008 Libreville
Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Children were also present in the ranks of the
Convention des patriotes pour la justice et la paix. Limited progress was made in the
development and implementation of action plans by armed groups signatories to the
Comprehensive Peace Agreement.
The report notes other grave violations, such as the killing of children, sexual
violence, attacks on health centres and the denial of humanitarian access. In the
south-east of the country, the Lord’s Resistance Army continues to abduct and
forcibly recruit children and use them as combatants, spies, sex slaves and porters.
The report identifies the national armed forces, armed groups, self-defence
militias and road bandits as responsible for grave violations against children. It also
describes the programmatic response to violations committed.
Finally, the report stresses the considerable challenges in monitoring and
reporting, as well as addressing, grave violations against children, and outlines a
series of recommendations with a view to securing strengthened action for the
protection of children in the Central African Republic.
Abstract: Measuring human rights violations is particularly challenging during or after armed conflict. A recent
nationwide survey in the Central African Republic produced estimates of rates of grave violations against
children and adults affected by armed conflict, using an approach known as the “Neighborhood Method”.
In June and July, 2009, a random household survey was conducted based on population estimates from
the 2003 national census. Clusters were assigned systematically proportional to population size.
Respondents in randomly selected households were interviewed regarding incidents of killing, intentional
injury, recruitment into armed groups, abduction, sexual abuse and rape between January 1, 2008 and the
date of interview, occurring in their homes’ and those of their three closest neighbors.
The population-based figures greatly augment existing information on human rights violations in CAR,
and represent a step forward in quantifying the protection needs of Central Africans. Government, donors,
and international organizations should make use of this data to better inform advocacy, prevention, and
response programs, to assist in fundraising, and to develop surveillance activities to monitor child
Abstract: La Mission des Nations unies en République centrafricaine et au Tchad (MINURCAT) a clôturé ses activités en décembre 2010, à la veille des élections générales dans les deux pays. La fragilité de ses acquis résulte des faiblesses de son mandat, essentiellement humanitaire alors que les problèmes sont politiques. Ainsi la mission a dû gérer les conséquences d’une situation sur laquelle elle ne pouvait pas intervenir. En outre, la lenteur de son déploiement a contribué à la discréditer. Enfin, le retrait des Casques bleus des zones occupées par les rébellions a privé les populations de ces régions de la possibilité de participer aux élections dans des conditions de sécurité suffisantes. Plus globalement, la MINURCAT illustre la valeur ajoutée d’un partenariat entre l’ONU et l’UE et rend compte des défis de la gestion des crises actuelles : d’une part, concilier deux principes contradictoires, à savoir la souveraineté des États et la responsabilité de protéger ; et d’autre part, déployer une opération de maintien de la paix lorsque les conditions de paix ne sont pas remplies.
Abstract: We know little about what NSAs themselves
think about the protection of children in armed
conflict. How do they see their role? What challenges
do they face? How do they perceive and react to
international mechanisms? This publication not only
takes an initial step towards answering these questions,
but it also provides examples of good practices
that can help other NSAs better protect children
and thereby meet their international obligations. It
is clear that NSAs are part of the problem. The focus
here is on how they may be part of the solution.
Contributions come from NSAs which operate in Africa,
Asia, and the Middle East. Four of the contributing
NSAs are listed as violators in the annexes to the 2010
Report of the Secretary-General on Children and
Armed Conflict (Armée populaire pour la restauration
de la République et la démocratie (APRD), Justice
and Equality Movement (JEM), Karen National Union
/Karen National Liberation Army (KNU/KNLA), and
Moro Islamic Liberation Front/Bangsamoro Islamic
Armed Forces (MILF/BIAF). One has entered into an
Action Plan with the relevant UN Country Team (MILF/
Abstract: The 10-year Review Conference of the Rome Statute and the International Criminal Court (ICC), from 31 May – 11 June in Kampala, hosted by the Government of Uganda, was attended by 86 States Parties to the Rome Statute and 33 observer states. Over 1200 members of civil society also participated in the official meeting and in side events held throughout the two weeks of the Conference. The Review Conference was the first global meeting on the Rome Statute since the 1998 Rome Conference, which adopted the Statute and laid the groundwork for the first permanent international criminal court with global jurisdiction for genocide, war crimes and crimes against humanity.
The two-track agenda for the Review Conference included a ‘stocktaking exercise’ held in the first week of the Conference, to evaluate the impact and progress of the Court since it came into existence in 2002, and the consideration of amendments to the Rome Statute, held in the second week of the Review process. Four priority themes were identified for the stocktaking exercise: (1) the impact of the Rome Statute system on victims and affected communities; (2) complementarity, or national efforts towards accountability; (3) state cooperation with the Court; and (4) peace and justice.
States Parties also considered several proposals to amend the Rome Statute, including (1) to delete Article 124 from the Statute, (2) to adopt a definition of the crime of aggression, and (3) to amend the Statute to include in the list of war crimes not of an international character (Article 8(2)(e)) similar prohibitions as found in article 8(2)(b) in relation to conflicts of an international character, namely the use of certain poisons, gases, and expanding bullets.
Abstract: In the diamond mines of the Central African Republic (CAR), extreme poverty and armed conflict put thousands of lives in danger. President François Bozizé keeps tight control of the diamond sector to enrich and empower his own ethnic group but does little to alleviate the poverty that drives informal miners to dig in perilous conditions. Stringent export taxes incentivise smuggling that the mining authorities are too few and too corrupt to stop. These factors combined – a parasitic state, poverty and largely unchecked crime – move jealous factions to launch rebellions and enable armed groups to collect new recruits and profit from mining and selling diamonds illegally. To ensure diamonds fuel development not bloodshed, root and branch reform of the sector must become a core priority of the country’s peacebuilding strategy. Reform of the diamond sector is a crucial element, alongside wider governance and conflict resolution measures, for improving the living conditions of miners and their families, boosting the state’s scant domestic revenues and helping break the cycle of armed conflict.
Abstract: Almost daily, a small band of rebels known as the Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, kills, abducts and attacks people across a vast area of central Africa.
The LRA has become the most deadly militia in Democratic Republic of Congo, with Christmas time over the past two years marked by appalling massacres. Since 2008, more than 400,000 people have fled their homes after the LRA rampaged across remote villages in Sudan, Central African Republic and Congo. Attacks came in retaliation to an ill-planned military offensive against the militia by regional armies.
The African Union and US government have recently announced initiatives to address the threat posed by the LRA. Renewed attention is welcome and vitally needed, but international and regional governments must learn the lessons of the past and ensure that future efforts provide effective security for local people. Women and men must be able to tend to their fields, children go to school and families sleep in their homes free from fear.
- Past attempts to deal with the LRA militarily have had a devastating impact on ordinary people. International actors and regional governments should direct their energies towards support for non-military action to address the threat posed by the LRA.
- Ultimately there needs to be long-term development and security to enable communities to live free from fear. Reducing poverty, providing essential services, promoting equitable development and political inclusion for the population, together with the reform of state security forces, must be part of the overall strategy to combat LRA violence.
- In the interim, there is an urgent need for coordinated international and regional efforts to offer villagers better protection against attacks, help those abducted by the LRA to return home, and seek peaceful solutions for a lasting end to the violence.
- It is no coincidence that the LRA operates in some of the most remote and underdeveloped areas of Central Africa. Such an environment lends itself to the group’s predatory approach, targeting the most vulnerable where the chances of facing a counter-attack are least. A massive expansion of radio and telecommunications coverage and road access is needed to enable communities to warn one another of impending attack and to call for assistance and protection.
Abstract: Armed conflict pitting government forces against various armed groups in northern areas
of the Central African Republic (CAR) caused the internal displacement of more than
200,000 people between 2005 and 2008. Following the signing of peace and reconciliation
agreements, their number fell to around 108,000, but since 2009 clashes between
the army and a splinter rebel group, and attacks on civilians by the Lord’s Resistance
Army have caused a new wave of displacement. As of November 2010, the number of
internally displaced people (IDPs) was estimated at over 192,000.
Civilians have suffered a range of human rights abuses, including killings, the looting
and burning of villages, destruction of fields, loss of livelihoods, sexual violence and the
abduction and recruitment of children. In June 2010, CAR was one of six African countries
that signed the N’Djamena Declaration to end the recruitment of children by all parties to
the region’s conflicts. The country is also now a signatory to the Optional Protocol to the
Convention on the Rights of the Child on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict
International peacekeeping forces have had little impact in areas affected by internal
displacement. They were deployed in small numbers and without a mandate to engage
criminal gangs. Nevertheless the government of CAR fears that the security situation in
the north-east of the country will get worse with the scheduled withdrawal of UN peacekeeping
troops, due to be completed by the end of the year. The latest wave of attacks
highlights the fragility of the peace process and raises serious concerns about stability in
the run-up to the presidential election scheduled for 23 January 2011.
Abstract: Nine actual or potential conflict situations around the world deteriorated and one improved in November 2010, according to the latest issue of the International Crisis Group’s monthly bulletin CrisisWatch released today.
Tensions surged on the Korean peninsula as two South Korean civilians and two marines were killed when North Korea fired dozens of artillery shells at Yeonpyeong Island, where South Korea was conducting military drills. Haiti ’s late month presidential elections ended in confusion, as several opposition candidates called for the vote to be annulled amid reports of fraud, and thousands of people took to the streets in protest. International observers from the OAS called the vote valid despite “serious irregularities”, but tensions remain high. Ivory Coast saw deadly pre-election clashes on the streets of the capital Abidjan between rival supporters of the two presidential candidates, incumbent Laurent Gbagbo and former Prime Minister Alassane Ouattara. The tightly contested 28 November run-off and delays in announcing the preliminary results has led to heightened tensions between the two camps and fears of further violence.
In Guinea, preliminary results declaring opposition leader Alpha Condé winner of the 7 November second round presidential election sparked three days of violence resulting in at least four deaths and dozens injured. CrisisWatch also noted deteriorated situations in Burundi, Central African Republic, Madagascar, Egypt and Western Sahara.
In Niger, the situation improved as results from the 31 October referendum showed 90 per cent of voters in favour of the new constitution, paving the way for January 2011 elections and a return to civilian rule.
Once again this month CrisisWatch describes violence against civilians in North and South Kivu provinces in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Abstract: The present report, covering the period 1 August 2009 to 31 July 2010, is the
sixth annual report of the International Criminal Court submitted to the United
Nations. It covers the main developments in the activities of the Court and other
developments of relevance to the relationship between the Court and the United
Nations. The Court is seized of five situations. The situations in Uganda, the Democratic
Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic were each previously
referred to the Court by those States, themselves Parties to the Rome Statute. The
situation in Darfur, the Sudan was referred by the United Nations Security Council.
In each case, the Prosecutor decided that there was a reasonable basis to open
investigations. During the reporting period, Pre-Trial Chamber II authorized the
Prosecutor to initiate an investigation into the situation in Kenya in relation to crimes
against humanity committed between 1 June 2005 and 26 November 2009. Further,
the Office of the Prosecutor is conducting preliminary examinations in various
situations, including in Afghanistan, Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Georgia, Guinea and
Abstract: Tens of thousands of people will remain without life-saving aid unless the UN mission in DR Congo steps up its presence in areas brutalized by the Lords Resistance Army (LRA). The horrific experiences of the communities in the Great Lakes directly affected by the LRA demand that the UN bear three harsh realities in mind:
1. The LRA is a regional problem, requiring a concerted regional and international response.
2. The problem is not going to go away: a failure to direct efforts and resources towards it now will only increase the scale of the human catastrophe to be addressed later.
3. Current efforts are ineffective at protecting civilians and can even inadvertently put civilians at greater risk: the protection of the civilians caught up in this crisis cannot be left to chance – or to the communities themselves.
That the US government, the World Bank, the UN, AU and EU have recently moved the issue of the LRA higher up their respective agendas is potentially good news for the many LRA-affected communities. Turning that potential into reality, however, is going to take considerably greater political will, coordination and far-sightedness than has so far characterised the international and regional response to the LRA.
Abstract: Northern Uganda became the scene of armed conflict after President Yoweri Museveni took power in 1986 by overthrowing a military regime dominated by the Acholi, the largest ethnic group in Uganda's northern districts of Gulu, Kitgum and Pader. In the wake of this coup, and amid fears of political and economic marginalisation, several protest movements emerged in the North challenging the newly established leadership. Out of these movements, the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) was born. Despite various attempts to address the LRA conflict, both through peaceful and military means, the movement is still active today. This poses a serious security threat to the communities in habiting the Southern Sudan-DRC-CAR area, as recent atrocities in Haute Uele district in Northeastern DRC demonstrate. Hence, there is an urgent need to recapture the multifaceted problem the LRA poses, and to think about new and innovative approaches to contribute to a durable solution. To this end, the Clingendael Conflict Research Unit (CRU) organized a closed meeting on 17 May 2010, bringing together a divergent group of leading experts and experienced practitioners.
Abstract: The present report is submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution
1923 (2010) of 25 May 2010, by which the Council extended the mandate of the
United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT)
until 31 December 2010 and requested that the Secretary-General keep the Council
regularly informed of progress in the implementation of the Mission’s mandate. The
present report provides an update on, inter alia, the security and humanitarian
situation in eastern Chad and the north-eastern Central African Republic. The security situation in eastern Chad continues to be unpredictable, largely
owing to criminal activities and banditry, including carjacking and armed robbery.
The average number of security incidents per month has not changed significantly
since the last reporting period, with 15 and 27 incidents in May and June
respectively. The general security environment in the MINURCAT area of operations in the
north-eastern Central African Republic (Vakaga and Haute-Kotto regions) remained
volatile, mainly owing to ethnic conflict and the presence of militias. Four
international non-governmental organizations are still operating in this area, mainly
out of Birao.
Abstract: Groups from the Lord’s Resistance Army continue to attack civilians throughout central
Africa. Attacks against civilians in a remote corner of Bas Uele district in northeastern
Democratic Republic of the Congo go largely unnoticed. Unlike most areas where the
LRA operates, attacks in northern Bas Uele are intended to empty the area—of strategic
importance to the LRA’s cross-border movement to the Central African Republic, or
CAR—of civilians. The lack of a meaningful military force to challenge the LRA has
turned the northern region of Bas Uele into a veritable haven for the brutal rebel group. The entire region of Bas Uele has been targeted by the LRA for the last 15 months.
Enough documented 51 separate attacks and 105 deaths caused by the LRA in Bas Uele
through April 2010. This brings the total number of people killed by the LRA in Congo
since December 2008 to nearly 2,500. LRA fighters have used Bas Uele as an important base and transit point to CAR where
the majority of LRA fighters and commanders have been based in recent months. LRA
violence in Bas Uele is intended to depopulate the area north of Ango and south of the
Abstract: Decades of political instability, state fragility, mismanagement, and a series of armed conflicts have led the Central African Republic (CAR) to a state of widespread violence and poverty. This study provides a better understanding of the scope and magnitude of violence in CAR and its consequences, as well as a snapshot of what the citizens of CAR believe is the best way to restore peace. It also examines the issue of justice and accountability for the serious crimes that were committed.
This report provides the findings from a survey of 1,879 adults, residents of CAR, randomly selected in the capital city of Bangui, and the prefectures of Lobaye, Ombella M’Poko, Ouham, and Ouham Pende. These prefectures represent a large geographic area that account for 52% of the total population of CAR and have experienced varying levels of exposure to the conflicts. Locally trained teams conducted the interviews between November and December 2009.
This report provides a detailed analysis of results on a wide range of topics related to population’s priorities and needs, exposure to violence, security, community cohesion and engagement, access to information, conflict resolution, reintegration of former combatants, transitional justice, and reparations for victims. Interviewers used an open-ended format and respondents could provide more than one answer to most questions.
Abstract: The Lord’s Resistance Army, or LRA, has been ruthlessly attacking civilians in the
Central African Republic, or CAR, since February 2008. Attacks continued unabated
in the country’s isolated southeastern Haut Mbomou and Mbomou prefectures, and
surged during the first three months of 2010. Despite this deadly track record, LRA
violence in CAR, one of the world’s poorest countries, has been badly under-reported
and gone largely unnoticed. This report, which is based on extensive interviews with
eyewitnesses gathered during field research in LRA-affected regions, describes in detail
the LRA’s reign of terror in CAR over the past two years. The report illuminates the casual brutality of the LRA in considerable detail, including
the terrible toll the militia continues to inflict on civilians in a largely forgotten corner
of Africa. These incidents make a compelling case that the international community
continues to do too little too late to end the scourge of the LRA. This research underscores two other key points: • Joseph Kony and other senior LRA leaders were nearly within the grasp of the
Ugandan People’s Defense Force, or UPDF, last year and could very likely have been
apprehended if the United States and other members of the international community
had provided more effective assistance in the form of intelligence sharing and key
logistical and operational support for military operations.
• There is a genuine risk of the LRA being able to regroup over time in CAR despite
some key losses because of that country’s general lack of internal security and the relative
absence of international attention to the situation in CAR.
Abstract: 14 May 2010 - Reports of a dramatic rise in the frequency and brutality of attacks by the rebel Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) from Uganda against civilians in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DR Congo), Sudan and the Central African Republic.
Central African Republic - Between March 20 and May 6, 2010, thirty six people were killed and 10,000 displaced by 10 LRA raids on villages in Haut-Mbormou.
DR Congo - Since December 2008, the LRA have killed more than 1,800 people, abducted 2,500 and displaced 280,000 in Bas-Uélé and Haut-Uélé, the epicentress of the LRA atrocities.
Sudan - An estimated 2,500 people have been killed and 87,800 forcibly displaced mostly in Central and Western Equatoria.
Abstract: This is the final text of the Act as approved by both the Senate and the House of the government of the United States which would require the United States to produce a strategy in support of the disarmament of the Lord's Resistance Army and which offers humanitarian assistance for areas affected by the Lord's Resistance Army, both inside and outside of Uganda. "An Act to support stabilization and lasting peace in northern Uganda and areas affected
by the Lord’s Resistance Army through development of a regional strategy to
support multilateral efforts to successfully protect civilians and eliminate the
threat posed by the Lord’s Resistance Army and to authorize funds for humanitarian
relief and reconstruction, reconciliation, and transitional justice, and for
Abstract: The present report is submitted pursuant to Security Council resolution 1861
(2009) of 14 January 2009, by which the Council extended the mandate of the
United Nations Mission in the Central African Republic and Chad (MINURCAT)
until 15 March 2010 and resolution 1913 (2010) of 12 March 2010 by which the
Council extended the mandate of MINURCAT until 15 May 2010. This report
provides an update on developments related to the implementation of the mandate of
MINURCAT since my last report dated 14 October 2009 (S/2009/535) and
recommendations for the tasks and configuration of MINURCAT after the expiration
of its present mandate on 15 May 2010. During the reporting period, relations between the Governments of Chad and
the Sudan improved significantly. The Governments of Chad and the Sudan signed
an agreement in N’Djamena on 15 January 2010, with the view to normalizing their
bilateral relations. They agreed, inter alia, to deny rebel groups the use of their
territories and to work towards their disarmament. In accordance with the
agreement, they deployed a joint border force of 3,000 troops with a view to
denying the cross-border movement of armed elements and stemming their criminal
activities. The force operates under a joint command based for an initial period of
six months in El Geneina, in Darfur, and then Abéché, in eastern Chad. The visit of
President Idriss Déby Itno to Khartoum from 8 to 9 February — the first such visit
since 2004 and the first meeting between the two Heads of State since March
2008 — was a major step in strengthening bilateral relations between the two
countries. This visit was followed by the appointment, on 15 February, of a Chadian
Ambassador to Khartoum. On 10 April, the border between the two countries
reopened for the first time since 2003 at three points, and the cross-border trade has
Abstract: The Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) has become a regional problem that requires a regional solution. Operation Lightning Thunder, launched in December 2008, is the Ugandan army’s latest attempt to crush militarily the one-time northern Ugandan rebel group. It has been a failure. After the initial attack, small groups of LRA fighters dispersed in the Democratic Republic of Congo (Congo), South Sudan and the Central African Republic (CAR), where they survive by preying on civilians. National security forces are too weak to protect their own people, while the Ugandan army, with U.S. support, is focused on hunting Joseph Kony, the group’s leader. The Ugandans have eroded the LRA’s numbers and made its communications more difficult. But LRA fighters, though disorganised, remain a terrible danger to civilians in this mostly ungoverned frontier zone. National armies, the UN and civilians themselves need to pool intelligence and coordinate their efforts in new ways if they are to end the LRA once and for all.
As the Juba peace process began to fall apart, President Museveni of Uganda worked hard to convince South Sudan and the Congo to participate in a joint military operation against the LRA. He had to overcome their mistrust of his army, notorious for its past abuse of civilians and illegal resource extraction on its neighbours’ territory. The U.S. lent its diplomatic weight to advance discussions. Even though both South Sudan and the Congo finally agreed, Uganda undermined its chances of success by failing to coordinate with them, giving them little reason to commit to the fight. In the event, bad weather and leaked intelligence caused Operation Lightning Thunder to fail in its primary objective, killing Kony, and a lack of forward planning allowed the LRA to put on a bloody show of force against Congolese civilians.